AS Media Theories

Consisting of:

- Strauss: Binary opposites
- Mode of address
- Hypodermic needle theory
- Uses and gratifications
- Vladimir Propp: Character types 
- Audience positioning
- Todorov: Narrative 
- Andrew Goodwin 


Strauss: Binary opposites

How the theory developed:
Strauss was a French anthropologist who lived in the early 1900s/ He believed that the way in which we understand certain words depends not so much on any meaning they contain, but much more by our understanding of the difference between the word and it's 'opposite.'  

Easy examples:
Our understanding of the difference between the word "villian" depends of the difference between that word and the opposing word - "hero." Many horror films include set of binary opposites in their plots. Traditionally it is always good VS evil, sane VS insane, rational VS irrational, and human VS supernatural.

Think of the recent twilight films, and it is obvious that the binary opposite is Vampire VS Werewolf, but if you think deeply, there is also human VS supernatural (bella and edward.) 

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Hypodermic needle theory

- The way the media releases their message to the public on a mass scale, with this being any form of medium. It suggests that the media injects its messages into the passive audience; the audience is then immediately affected by these messages. The public cannot escape. 

- The government use this power to influence peoples decisions, even if they didn't orginally support this view. Media producers know that people are spending most of their time using media and used this to gather their information from it. The most effective way to deliver messages is the television. 

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Mode of address

- The ways in which the media products address their audience
- The clearer you are about your target audience, the more convincing your mode of address will be.
- Direct mode of address -> Straight to audience (inclusive)
- Indirect mode of address - > Generic (exclusive)
- Register -> whether or not the product is formal or informal.

Use colloquial vocabulary to create a bond between the cover and the audience. Using language relating to the audience, inviting them in.

How they talk to you via the radio, including the tone of their voice. Is it formal or informal? Direct or indirect?

The style of delivery used by presenters/interviewers which is a key factor in establishing the mood and tone of a programme, making it friendly and fun but specific to the target audience.  

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Uses and gratifications

An approach to understand mass communication.

Representing the effects of the media from the point of view of audiences. The modal looks at the motives of the people who use the media, asking why we watch the television programmes that we do.

Places focus on the consumer, or audience, instead of the actual message itself. It assumes that members of the audience are not passive but take an active role in interpreting and integrating media into their own lives. 

Broken down into four different needs:

- The surveillance need is based around the idea that people feel better having the feeling that they know what is going on in the world.
- The personal identity need explains how being a subject of the media allows us to reaffirm the identity and positioning of ourselves within society.
- We can form relationships with the media and others.  
- The diversion need describes what;s commonly known termed as escapism.  

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Narrative is the coherence/organisation given to a series of facts. The human mind needs narrative to make sense of things. We connect events and make interpretations based on these connections. 

In everything we seek a beginning, middle and a end. There are five stages narratives progress through. If it hasn't been through all, then it isn't the end.

1. A state of equilibrium.
2. A disruption of that order.
3. A recognition that the disorder has occurred.
4. An attempt to repair the damage.
5. A return or restoration of a NEW equilibrium.  

Todorov argues that narrative involves a transformation. The character or the situations are transformed through the process of the disruption. 

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Andrew Goodwin

Andrew Goodwin has identified a number of key features in music videos. They are:

- A relationship between the lyrics and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the lyrics.
- A relationship between the music and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the music.
- Genre-related style and iconography present.
- Multiple close-ups of the main artist or vocalist.
- Voyeurism often plays a major part, especially in relation to females.
- Intertextual references to other media texts may be present.

He says that music videos are often constructed by the link between the visuals and the song plus the artist. Relationships are built between these in the video, and the close-ups of the artists gives them the representation and publicity they require. Voyeurism is used to increase the video’s attractiveness, particularly to males, whilst intertextuality is often employed in humorous videos.

Many of these features are present in all music videos, depending on the genre of the song and the aim of the record company/artist.

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Audience positioning

Audience positioning is the process whereby media texts work to stimulate the reader or viewer from a particular point of view or perspective.

Media texts are structured in ways that position audiences to adopt a particular perspective or point of view. 

There are three main positions in which the audience view a text:

- Dominated -> this is where the viewer totally accepts the message of the text without question.
- Negotiated -> this is where the viewer will accept the message to a certain extent and might affect their ideologies.
- Oppositional -> is where the viewer will reject the message of the text.  

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brilliant thankyou!!



This is really good, thanks loads



Awesome. Knew a large proportion already but glad to know the theorist of the binary opposites theory:)



So good - thank you!!! x



thank you! Really useful! 

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