MEDIA THEORY AND CONCEPTS

Brief overview of some key media thoery needed for the mest3 exam - usefull for when you havent got much time left ot revise. Remeber to talk about theory in your exam answers - this is key to getting the higher marks!

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  • Created on: 14-06-11 15:21
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Uses and Gratifications
Audiences use media texts for:
diversion / escapism
Personal relationships
Personal identity ­ help understand themselves
Surveillance ­ gain understanding of the world
Criticisms ­ overly simplistic, we choose what we view dependant on the material available, little control over
what we see and read
Reception Theory
Focuses on how audiences respond to texts, the idea that texts do not contain on single meaning. Audiences
decode texts depending on their cultural capital and their gender / sexuality/ ethnicity / social status.
The three main readings of a text are:
Preferred reading ­ where the reader shares the values and beliefs of the texts the way the creator
wants them to
Negotiated reading ­ partly shares the texts ideas but modifies them depending on their own views
Oppositional reading ­ viewer rejects the texts preferred reading
Criticisms ­ Ignores how the surroundings and situations whilst using a media text can alter their impact, focuses
on individuals.
Audience profiling
This focuses on the audiences to media texts and how they are grouped according to different factors.
Demographic Profiling ­ defines the audience in terms of age, class, gender, geographical location, religion.
Simplistic way of grouping as it assumes everyone within the classification has the same attitudes.
Psychographic profiling ­ categorising audiences according to their needs and motivation, targeting audiences
based on their needs desires and interests.
The life matrix psychographic marketing tool focuses on values, attitudes and beliefs of the audience.
Two-step flow
Assumes that audiences are more likely to believe ideas and thoughts if they are discussed with an opinion
leader (someone who is respected in society) e.g. review in magazines and newspapers.
News Values
The explicit and implicit values frequently used by the gatekeepers of news.

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Effects theory
Shared beliefs with Karl Marx.
Belief of the Frankfurt school that the mass media is controlled by the capitalist system, creating a mass culture
that eliminates opposition and alternatives. Hegemony of the ruling class is established through this and thus
there is less opportunity to challenge and criticise it.
Believes that the mass audience is seen as passive, not active, thus the audience is being manipulated by the
needs of the capitalist system.…read more

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Postmodernism
Postmodernism refers to ideas about contemporary culture and society, rejecting distinctions between high and
low cultures. It embraces pluralism, combination and diversity. The belief that rules are there to be broken and
that reality is constructed by social factors.
Metanarratives ­ The stability stories within society that a culture uses to structure its practises and beliefs.
Postmodernism argues that there metanarratives are no longer central to how the world operates.…read more

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Pluralism
Pluralists argue against Marxism, and believe that media institutions are responsive to the direct needs and
wants of audiences rather than the other way round. They feel audiences are capable of manipulating the media
and can `conform, accommodate or reject' ideas presented to them.
Pluralists reject the idea of a mass culture and similarly to postmodernism they feel there is an abolishment
between classes ­ there is the idea that there is no one hegemonic idea to be conveyed through any media text.…read more

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The cult of celebrity
What was once reserved for people with high status and important roles, the democratisation of western culture
has generated a world in which anyone can be successful, even if they do not have a talent.
The Marxist view is that this deflects the proletariat away from realising their subordinated status in society. It is
also thought that anyone can become famous by displaying the image anyone can become famous with very
little effort.…read more

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