MEDIA STUDIES THEORIES AS/A2

Blulmer and Katz uses and gratification

This theory suggests why audiences consume media texts

Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine.

Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, eg) substituting soap operas for family life

Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts

Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living eg) weather reports, financial news, holiday bargai

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Uses and gratification theory Blulmer and Katz

This theory was created to explain why audiences consume media texts as they do.

Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine.

Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, eg) substituting soap operas for family life

Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts

Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living eg) weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains

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Two step flow theory

This theory was created to explain the influence of media messages that are projected and recieved by an audience.

This theory works on the basis that an influential figure broadcasts an opinion that they agree with to a mass audience that will accept what they say and think the same as the influential figure. 

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Hypodermic needle theory

This theory suggests that the texts that are broadcast by the media act as a metaphorical syringe, presenting audiences as vulnerable and that we are being poisoned by the media and that we are helpless to resist. 

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Todorovs theory

This theory acts as a narrative structure that Todorov believed applies to all media texts.He believed that all films followed the same narrative pattern. They all went through stages called the equilibrium, disequilibrium, acknowledgement, solving and again equilibrium.

There are five stages the narrative can progress through: 1. A state of equilibrium (All is as it should be.) 2. A disruption of that order by an event. 3. A recognition that the disorder has occurred. 4. An attempt to repair the damage of the disruption. 5. A return or restoration of a NEW equilibrium

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Stuart Hall reception theory

This is a theory looking at the audiences reception to a particular media text.

He suggests that an audience has a significant role in the process of reading a text, and this can be discussed in three different ways:

1 The dominant or preferred reading. The audience shares the code of the text and fully accepts and understands its preferred meaning as intended by the producers (This can be seen as a hegemonic reading).

2 The negotiated reading. The audience partly shares the code of the text and broadly accepts the preferred meaning, but will change the meaning in some way according to their own experiences, culture and values EG These audience members might argue that some representations – ethnic minorities perhaps – appear to them to be inaccurate.

3 The oppositional reading. The audience understands the preferred meaning but does not share the text’s code and rejects this intended meaning and constructs an alternative meaning. EG This could be a radical reading by a Marxist or feminist who rejects the values and ideology of the preferred reading.

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Vladimir Propp theory

Propp has created this theory as he identified similair characters and themes running throughout different media texts.

  • The Hero – a character that seeks something
  • The Villain – who opposes or actively blocks the hero’s quest
  • The Donor – who provides an object with magical properties
  • The Dispatcher – who sends the hero on his/her quest via a message
  • The False Hero – who disrupts the hero’s success by making false claims
  • The Helper – who aids the hero
  • The Princess – acts as the reward for the hero and the object of the villain’s plots
  • Her Father – who acts to reward the hero for his effort
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Laura Mulvey's male gaze theory

This theory is seen as a feminist point of view, with Mulvey believing that the only purpose woman serve in films are to be gazed at and objectififed by men for their own viewing pleasure. Protagonists tended to be men. Mulvey suggests two distinct modes of male gaze – “voyeuristic (women as whores) and fetishistic – women as unreachable madonnas”. 

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