Media Studies AS Terminology and Theories

Basic terminology and theories needed for AS Level Media Studies

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Media Theories

the four main ways in which black people are represented in the media:

  • the pitied
  • the humerous
  • the exotic
  • the dangerous

aruges that black people are represented both narrowly and stereotypically by the media

Stuart Halls Encoding/Decoding Model
suggests that producers encode a message and audiences actively decode that message, leading to preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings and aberrant decodings

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Media Theories (Continued)

Uses and Gratifications Theory
Why an audience chooses a media text. Active audiences select texts that meet their individual needs:

  • Entertainment and escapism
  • Surveillance - gain information about the world
  • Fulfilling a social need - keeping you company/something to talk about
  • Personal identity - compare life/self with others to reaffirm your values
  • Voyeurism - watch how others behave/live their lives
  • Fetishism - extreme interest in something. Fandom/obsession

Two - Step - Flow Model
where the message of a media text is delivered by someone who the audience believe/trust

linear narrative that eventually establishes a balance


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Media Terminology 1

Visual Codes - what you see in the scene, what makes up the mise-en-scene

Narrative Codes - how the story is constructed 

Semiotics - the theory of signs

Sign - actual object

Signifier - physical attributes of the sign

Signified - meaning constructed from the physical attributes of the object

Iconic Sign - what the actual object is

Indexical Sign - a sign that suggests something has happened

Symbolic Sign - iconic sign given a sympolic meaning

Syntagmatic Structure - how the narrative is constructed through signs

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Media Terminology 2

Paragidmatic Choices - one sign with many choices. often affected by genre

Cinematography - framing of shots, and the shot types

Extreme Close Up - draws attention to detail

Close-Up - shows expression and emotion

Mid-Shot - see figure and background

Long-Shot - see a whole figure

Extreme Long Shot - establishes setting

Two-Shot - 2 people in one shot, showing a relationship

Over The Shoulder Shot - position audience with a character

Point of View Shot - seeing what the character sees

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Media Terminology 3

Tracking Shot - follows movement of people and objects

Diegetic Sounds - sounds in the scene, eg. talking, cars etc

Non-diegetic Sounds - sounds out of the scene, eg. music

Synchronous Sounds - goes with the images

Asynchronous Sounds - hearing something you cannot see

Sound Bridge - hearing something in one scene that comes from the next scene

Contrapuntal Sound - what you see is the opposite to what you hear

Polysemic - multi-layered narrative

Hegemony - identifying the dominant values of a group. institutional set of values

Generic Verisimilitude - reality according to the genre

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Media Terminology 4

Cultural Verisimilitude - reality according to the specific culture

Hybrid Text - a text combining several genres

Target Audience - who a text is specifically aimed at

Secondary Audience - anyone outside of the target audience who consumes a text

Stereotype - a simplified and generalised view of aspects of society used by the                         media. Often negative and judgmental

Countertype - a representation that challenges the stereotype

Ideology - beliefs and values

Dominant Ideology - dominant beliefs and values of society

Moral Panic - an issue/group of people who are perceived as a threat to society

Demographic - age, gender, nationality representations

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Media Terminology 5

Psychographic - representations of interests, lifestyles, beliefs and values

Preferred Reading - text is consumes in the intended way of the producer

Negotiated Reading - accept part of a texts meaning

Oppositional Reading - audience reject meaning and create their own

Aberrent Decoding - creating an incorrect interpretation of the meaning

Active Audience - create own meanings from a text

Passive Audience - accept meanings and do not create their own

Audience Positioning - the way media texts pursuade audiences to take a point of                                       view or side of an argument

Enigma Codes - an image / text that makes the audience question details or                                     meanings

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you deserve a medal!! thank youu!! :]

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