A2 Media exam

Descriptions of key terms


Post modern

Self aware

Intertextuality- reinvention of ideas- adds new meaning/gives levels of meaning



Bricolage- a mish mash of elements

hybridity- mixing of genres and styles

purposely parodying/ mocking something

focus on image rather than narrative

non linear narrative

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Lyotard- postmodern periods over arching theories or explanations of the world or metanarratives (grand narratives) such as Marxism, Capitalism, religion and science have been deblunked leading to instability in society.

Antonio Gramski- Hegemony
Karl marx- Marxism
Adorno- low culture is to blame for the mass public not questioning their capitalist society.
Narrative theories:
Propp- character types
Toderov- equilibrium
Levi Strauss- Binary oppositions
Barts- semiotic codes 

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Key terms

Democracy: The public are given the chance to voice their opinions and therefore make a difference to an outcome

Marxism: A criticism of capitalism. It believes in equality, and theorises that a capitalist society exploits people by exploiting their labour in order to gain money for powerful people at the top of the hierachy. They believe that wealth should be shared.

Capitalism: Society is largely run by the large, rich and powerful institutions. Involves a hierachy where people sell their labour.

Hegemony: The process by which leaders gain popular consent.

Low culture: Liked by mass public, e.g. reality TV. Adorno blames low culture for the public not questioning capitalism.

High culture: High arts such as Opera, Shakespeare and Ballet, that Adorno suggests are thought provoking.  

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Marxism and Hegemony

New media gives freedom of speech. People promote what is popular, bringing a shift that makes the new media more democractic.

Karl Marx's theory of Marxism directly opposes capitalism.
Capitalism: a social and economic system which privellages individual property rights and advocates free market ecomomics. The media is inherently capitalist in nature as the majority of people working in the media sell their labour in return for labour. The media also promotes consumerism, (a capitalist ideology) through advertising.

The media values consumerism, giving relationships with things rather than people.
Advertising promotes capitalism to keep the economy going.

Hegemony (leadership): the way those in charge gain public consent. The viewpoints of those in power is portrayed by the media as natural and common sense, through audience positioning.

Hegemony supporting capitalism: it is a hegemonic value to have the latest products, promoting consumerism.

The idea of democracy is political understanding.

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Queer Theory

Sex               ---------> Male/Female                         --------> Biological Difference
Gender         ---------> Masculine/ Feminine             --------> Construction of:
                                           Nature      / Nurture
Sexuality      ---------> Hetrosexual/Bisexual/Homosexual ----->Nature/Nurture
Masculine Male  -------> Hetrosexual/ Homosexual
Feminine Male   -------> Hetrosexual/ Homosexual

Queer Theory suggests that all these categories are fluid.

  • Butler's gender theory- that gender and sexuality are fluid and doesn't opperate on binary oppositions.
  • All identities are social constructions
  • Gender is linked to representation
  • Attacks binary oppositions in traditional ideas about sexuality
  • Repeated performance and representations of hetrosexuality
  • Will create the illlusion that it not only "normal" but also right
  • Most representations of homosexuals are comedic and girly
  • Whilst you may have representations of homosexuals all they seem to do is reinforce the homosexual stereotype, and therefore still presenting hetrosexuality as normal
  • Homosexuals are often normalised on TV through wearing suits, seen to be a high masculine code.
  • Lesbianism has clear sexual codes- it is for the male gaze.
  • Overtly feminine codes (for lesbians)- doesn't normalise, it fulfills a stereotype
  • Eddie Izzard never made it into mainstream media  because his sexual codes were unclear
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Feminism: Opens discussion of the treatment of women in society. Feminism should be about equal representation of men and women. We need to look at if any representations are stereotypically sexist or are an attempt to subvert gender types. We need to:

-define if a text is being ironic in its treatment of gender
- Be able to apply feminist theories to reach an autonomous reading of a text


Victorian attitudes towards women: stereotyped into two categories- "nice", married women who were homemakers, or prostitutes. They had double standards. Men were praised for using prostitutes, but women were expected to be virgins until married.
Industrial revolution: A divide was created- men went out to work whilst women stayed at home.
Emily Pankhurst: was a sufferagette martyr
1869- women in Britain get the vote.
1961- Abortion laws and the pill introduced in the UK
1971- **** laws were enforced and **** within marriage became illegal
1979- Margaret Thatcher
1975- sex and discrimination and equal rights opportunities

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Moral Panics

Definition: Moral panics are a condition, episode, person or group of persons defined as a threat to society's values and interests. Its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media.

Stanley Cohen- ("folk devils and moral panics: the creation of the Mods and Rockers). Cohen explores moral panics as a means to explain the societal reaction to that era's phenomenas (such as the mods and rockers). He explained that all deviency is created by society.

There may be a panic over what is deemed as being devient: it is framed in terms of morality and is usually expressed through outrage rather than adulterated fear.

Often moral panics revolve around sex and sexuality, or children, for example the moral fear that children (the vulnerable and passive) will be able to access **** on the internet.

It is usually not a new phenomena but has recently just come back into the media attention.

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Moral Panics continued

Moral panics take an issue and create it to be a breakdown of society's values- it also presents it as breaking down of hegemonic values, which the passive audience do not realise.

It is bound up in sensationalism: this is why Tabloids are mainly the newspapers to portray moral panics. It also uses biased and selective reporting. It is also bound up in Hegemony- create a fear, and it is likely society will conform- Hunger Games.

Moral Panics generally have a short life, however as opportunistic politicians and some elements of the media intervenes they can be prolonged.

Examples of Moral Panics include:

- Mods and Rockers
- Youth violence
- 9/11
- genocide and attempted genocide of Cambodia/ Ukraine
- Child Abductions- Madeline McKaine
- Halloween Candy
- Gangs
- Witch hunts and witch trials- being accused of something they're not.
- Satanic Panic
- AIDs
- Swine Flu, Foot and Mouth, Bird Flu
- Anti- Semitism
- Terrorism

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Definition: sharing technology and knowledge all over the world.

How do mass media effect global audiences?
- Ideologies: Dominant values and beliefs
- Hegemony: creation of popular consent by the powerful

Cultural Imerialism: is concerned with the domination of one culture over another
For example US films are 645 of the European market- locals can't compete financially.

Critics argue that:
- Entertainment programmes transmit culture as well as entertainment
- Western media producers destroy values and diverse cultures
- They import images of lifestyle and social relations.
- Takes away individualism and is done purely for the main company's own pleasures.
- Cultural diversity should be preserved

Defenders of globalisation argue:

- Audiences aren't passive- they can decide their ideologies for themselves
- Audiences "filter" what comes in
- Plurality of interpretation

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Globalisation continued

Definition: Local and national economics and cultures are integrated through communication, transport and trade.
- Ideas, language, and culture are being circulated around the world.
- Economic globalisation allows for the free movement, goods, services, capital and labour.

Is globalisation junk culture? Adorno suggested that:
Capitalism + new technologies = globalisation = focus on quantity instead of quality
= Adorno's theory of junk culture

You can have global iconography

The internet is a considerable factor in the spreading of ideas, particularly cultural ideas.

The spreading of American culture leads to other cultures being suppressed- American/ western ideologies become the dominant force.

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- Barts- Semiotics
- Propp- Character types
- Toderov- narrative theory
- Levi Strauss- Binary Oppositions

- Lyotard- postmodernism, to do with the breakdown of grand narratives bringing instability
- Baulldiard- Postmodernism
- Umberto Eco- Hypereality and simularcra

- Gramski- Hegemony
- Adorno- High culture low culture, globalisation and cultural imperialism
- Butler- gender theory
- Cohen- Moral Panics
- Marx- Marxism/ Capitalism
- Said- Otherness

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Issues and Debates

Is the media dumbing down?
Is the ownership of the media too concentrated?
Is media regulation strong enough? Is self-regualtion working?
Do the media represent the UK, its communities, cultures and beliefs fairly and objectively?
Does celebrity culture make us superficial and lazy?
Should people care more about privacy?
Do newspapers use scare stories and moral panics to keep us under control?
Is the internet a good thing? Is it rewiring our brains?
Does violence in the media lead to violence in society?
Does *********** warp our sexuality?
Can we solve social problems with censorship?
Does the media serve a power elite?

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Representations of Africa

It is represented in Western media in:
- Film
- Holiday
- Charity
- Documentary
- News

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