Uses and Gratifications theory (Katz and Blumler)

The theory tries to explain why audiences consume different products. It has been broken down into four main categories: Information, personal identity, social interaction, entertainment. Audiences watch the news for information on world events BBC’s coverage of the Westminster terror attack provided people with information on the attack as it happened. Audiences watch or consume products that they feel they can personally relate to. Netflix’s Sense8’s pro-LGBT messages will be watched by many liberal thinking audiences. Social interaction is another reason why audiences consume products as it allows them to feel engaged and connected to other members of society. The Walking Dead has an average of 435,000 tweets per episode and this means that audiences engage with each other over the series. Audiences may consume programmes for entertainment purposes as they aim to escape from their everyday life. Family Guys’s comedy provides an escape from the troubles of everyday life.

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Reception theory (Stuart Hall)

When the producers of media encode a hidden message or meaning within the text. Stuart Hall identified three main types of audiences reading of messages: Dominant, negotiated, oppositional. The dominant message is one in which the producer want the audience to agree with the message the Guardians 07.01.17 headline ‘Humanitarian crisis in NHS, says Red Cross.’ Widely accepted as truth. Negotiated messages is when the audience may agree, disagree or question a media text due to previously known information Fox News is often widely associated with having affiliations with the Republican party so many audiences will remember this when consuming their information.  Oppositional is when the audience recognises the dominate message but will reject it due to cultural or political opinion. Many disregard the BBC’s coverage of the 2017 election due to the fact they believe that the BBC is bias against the conservative party.

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Hypodermic needle theory

Traditionally assoicated with Nazi propaganda but can still beapplied to modern media texts. Mass media could influence a very large group of people directly by ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages which were designed to trigger a response. Suggests that the audience is passive and is immediately influenced by the media. Therefore, the media is dangerous as it means thy have direct control and the audience have no form of resisting the message. Daily Express creates an anti-immigration message through their headlines e.g. ‘Migrants take all new jobs in Britain.’ In March 2007.

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Two step flow

The two-step flow is whereby media theorists try to explain the passing on of information to other sources. There are two parts to the theory. The first step is when opinion leaders get information from a media source. The second step is when opinion leaders then pass the information along with their interpretation to others. Mean Girls leads young girls to believe that high school is an exaggerated and bitchy place, it therefore creates an impression in the audience's mind that school is really like that.

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Cultivation theory

Examines they kind of relationship the audience have with the media. The more time in which the audience spend consuming the media the more they will believe that is the reality. Audiences whom watch The Only Way is Essex will believe that the representation of people whom live in Essex and Essex as a place is the skewed representation seen on TV.

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Effects theory

The theory questions how media impacts society and how society impacts the media. Many argue that a passive audience will consume the media and copy the messages portrayed in the media text. Netflix’s 13 Reason’s Why has been controversial as many psychologists argue that it will lead to younger audience’s copying the explicit scenes of suicide and self-harm in the show. This has therefore had many institutions call on Netflix to impose some form of censorship to protect more impressionable audiences from such explicit content.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow describes five basic needs for an audience that media producers try to appeal to when they create the text. The five needs are: self-improvement the TV show, My Name is Earl appealed to an audience’s need to improve their own life as Earl tried to improve his own life, self-esteem give an audience a glimpse into what the glamorous life would be such as Made in Chelsea where audiences see luxuriousness of their lives , love/belonging The Notebook appeals to an audiences need to be loved and feel like they belong due to the romantic nature of the film, safety/security Paranormal Activity is one way that a institution has exploited our need to feel safe and secure , basic life needs such as water and shelter The Island with Bear Grylls which depicts stranded ordinary people and thus plays on peoples need for basic rights such as clean water and shelter.

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Definition and general understanding of representa

The way in which the media portrays a certain group, community, experiences, ideas or topics from an ideological value or perspective. The Daily Express presents a negative representation of migrants

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Medhurst and stereotypes

One way in which producers allow for identification is through using the short cut of stereotypes, this means an audience can identify with a character much more easily. Skins presents youths as overtly out of control and overly emotional whilst retaining the idea that teenagers are party animals.

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Dyer and stereotypes

Dyer suggests that stereotypes allow for inequality to remain. Stereotypes allow for accepted notions to remain within a society for longer. In High School Musical Troy is the white protagonist and captain of basketball team and his black best friend chad is shown to be not as good a player as Troy and therefore perpetuates a state of  racial inequality.

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Perkins and stereotypes:

Although stereotypes are perpetuated by the media, they retain an element of truth which is then skewed and exaggerated for entertainment purposes. The ‘Nan’ in the Catherine Tate Show is built on an accepted view that elderly people are more likely to maintain racial prejudices because of the generation gap but this had been maximised by the producers for entertainment purposes.

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Male gaze (Laura Mulvey)

The concept of the theory deals with how the audience views the people that are presented in the text. To be more specific, it deals with how men look at women, how women look at themselves and how women look at other women. Mulvey stated that audiences have to view characters from the perspectives from a heterosexual male.  The text therefore focuses on sexualising the woman to appeal to the male audience. Dolce and Gabbana released and ad that had a woman lying down in a revealing swim suit with one man lying on top of her, pushing her down, whilst three other men stood nearby watching. This therefore shows how the woman is the object of sex for the male audience as it is appealing to the dominant nature of the heterosexual male audience.

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Stuart Hall and power

Stuart Hall suggests that there are three potential readings of a text The three readings include: the dominate, the negotiated and the opositional. Family Guy is read by a dominant audience as postmodern take on American white working class life whereas a negotiated reading suggests it is just a surrealist comedy yet an oppositional reading would regard it as being childish and offensive.

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Bell hooks about black women:

Described that within the media, the lighter the woman, the more desirable they are. Whereas black women are sexualised and represents the post colonialism view of women of colour. For example, in Game of Thrones, Daenarys Targaryen is the dominant authoritative queen whereas the she has a black lady in waiting who is sexualised in the shots where she is bathing and the audience can see her breasts.

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Kobena Mercer and dual ecxlusions

Black gay films open up the notion of ‘dual exclusions’ showing that there is varied representation and minority characters are more complicated than stereotypical black or gay characters. E.g. the film Moonlight by Barry Jenkins presents black gay characters in an alternate way, Chiron maintains a sense of masculinity but retains his homosexuality and presents a conflict between the identity of race and sexuality.

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Institutions - there are a few ways in which to de

®   Monopoly – a way in which to describe a company that dominates a certain area of the media either locally, nationally or internationally e.g. Disney’s dominance over American media. It owns ESPN, Marvel Studios, Pixar, ABC.

®   Oligopoly – a small number of companies that dominate an area of the media in the U.S. 6 production companies produce 87% of film revenues

®   Conglomerates – A collection of companies owned by a single institution e.g. Disney owns ESPN, Marvel, Pixar and ABC

®   Multinationals – organisations that have institutions and offices in more than one country e.g. Facebook

®   Independent producers – self-funded, smaller organisations. These are growing in numbers. E.g. films like Vertigo Films produced the low budget film Snowden.

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Structure of conglomerates:

Conglomerates are often international large companies that are a combination of two or more companies that full under one corporate group which usually involves a parent company and smaller subsidiaries. The Walt Disney Company is the largest conglomerate in the world as it owns a multitude of subsidiary companies such as Walt Disney Studios, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel, ABC and Lucasfilm etc.

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Ownership models

Three main examples of ownership models. State run media is whereby there is a concentration of power in the media as it is owned by the government. China have a large say over what gets approved and what can be run by media corporations they even control non-governmental media agencies to follow the party line. Neoliberal / corporate model is the most widely used model in society. It has often lead to a concentration of power due to the free market nature of the ownership of the media. It has therefore lead to conglomerates being created, ‘the big 6’ account for 80% of the media produced world wide. Independent / self-published media is also known as the anarchist model. It aims for more people to be able to publish their own media without corporate or state influence. Companies like the Independent Film Company is a good example of an independent company that can fund itself.

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Regulations and censorship

There has been an attempt to regulate certain aspects of the media to help protect younger audiences, multiple words have been banned from articles. Companies such as Ofcom help to regulate the media. The main problem with this is that the internet has been able to circumnavigate the guide lines and allow for sensitive material to be viewed online and avoid regulation 13 Reasons Why has circumnavigated Ofcom’s laws about suicide due to it being produced and distributed online.

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Todorov theory of narratives:

Todorov suggests that all plot lines and stories follow one basic narrative pattern or path. The five pathways are: Equilibrium the start of the story when the characters are content with their lives like the start of the Simpsons movie when Homer is doing household chores. Disruption when something occurs that will start the problem in the plot like when Homer saves the pig. Realisation, when the characters realise the problem and the chaos its causing like when the Simpsons where kicked out of Springfield and had to move to Alaska. Restored order, when the issue is resolved like when Homer throws the bomb out of the dome and the dome explodes. Equilibrium, when the plot returns to the state of order again like when the bomb explodes the dome and all the characters are free.

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Barthes and codes

Action codes create a certain semantic code that suggest to us certain aspects of a character and act as a symbol. Fresh Prince of Belair presents Will as youthful energetic character mainly due to his colourful sense of fashion and his trendy hair styles etc where as his uncle is more conservative as he wears plain cardigans and ties and has sensible plain hair. Enigma codes allow for the progression of the story so the audience will be intrigued and continue with the text as they hope to find out the answer Broadchurch season 1, we see a dead boy on the beach and the police proclaim it was a murder. We as an audience then question who is the murderer and continue watching the season to find out.

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Propp and character

There are 8 types of characters within a film or TV show. When we look at The Hunger Games, this is prevalent. Katniss is the hero, President Snow is the villain, the donor is Haymitch, the helper is Peeta, the princess is Primm, President Coin is the dispatcher, false hero/villain is Cinna as it appears he is working for the capitol. Producers do this to help aid or assist the storylines progression. 

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Levi-Strauss and Binary opposites

A way in which the media producers maintain the accepted dominant culture prevails by pinning the accepted culture whom is perceived as the hero against the marginalised culture. Harry Potter is the good natured modern boy who is against the evil/fascist Voldemort is therefore a reference to a war era message of democracy defeating fascism such as the good vs evil in the war.

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Structuration (Anthony Giddens)

Giddens states that there are accepted social structures and a media text can either enforce these structures of disregard them. For example, Misfits reinforces the idea of troubled youths whereas the film Up presents youths as being helpful and caring through the character of Russell and therefore disregards the theory

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Foucault and fluid identity

Foucault suggested that a person doesn’t have an inner fixed identity. Their identity is fluid and ever changing. In Sense8 Lito is presented as a very masculine character despite retaining his homosexuality which goes against the accepted societal view of homosexuality.

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Butler’s Queer theory/gender trouble

Contesting the perceived views of sexuality and gender and presents an idea that identities are not labelled. There are many androgynous representations in the media that debate the common perception of gender e.g. Louis Spence on Pineapple Dance Studios.

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Gauntlett and collective identity

Identity is complicated and we all think we have our own we often have our own individual identity and when we engage with the media we see groups of collective identities that allows us to feel like we belong. Young people will watch shows such as The Inbetweeners or Skins because they feel a certain sense of identification the characters because they are both young and go through the same experiences as them.

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Giddens and identity:

Identity is the way in which see ourselves and the way in which groups see others. Audiences can have a cultural identity or an individual identity. ‘Moonlight’ has Chiron identity culturally with black Americans yet personal identifies as homosexual.

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Technological determinism and social constructivis

Technology is the decider of societies structure and cultural values. Social media sites like twitter and Facebook has changed the way we interact with each and has led to a more globalised world whereby we can communicate instantaneously via technology.

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Proliferation of hardware

The continual expansion and increasing standards of technology in society.  In the 1980’s you would need multiple devices to fulfil the same function a modern smart phone does e.g. Radio, emails, phome, calander, photos, camera, voice recorde now all fit into one singular device.

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moral panic (Stanley Cohen)

Moral panic occurs within society when the media portrays an event, group or condition a threat to society. According to the theory, the news play a massive role in enforcing moral panic. It occurs when the media overreact to an aspect of behaviour which may be seen to challenge exiting social norms. Daily Express creates an anti-immigration message through their headlines e.g. ‘Migrants take all new jobs in Britain.’ In March 2007.

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Claims that everything can be art. Every new thought has been had and to create any new form of originality, we need to mix old things together, there is therefore an emphasis on intertextuality.  Blurred lines between reality and art. Life imitates art, as the media now controls the way in which we look at the world and society. Our sense of reality is said to be dominated by popular images and therefore we create our own reality from what we see in the media.

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Refers to the way in which distant societies are inter-related and connected by trade, communication and cultural experience. Giddens describes the world as a ‘runaway world’ in which different countries are joined together by the media e.g. shows like The Simpsons and films like Harry Potter are watched globally.  A political economy is reference to the idea that the homogenisation of cultures and communications due to the shared values and ideologies of countries. The USA dominates the worlds media and the capitalist western culture is subsequently presented across the world. Some may argue that the western culture’s dominance is only a result of cultural imperialism whereby one culture dominates another and therefore undermines it e.g. the western cultures dominance over Asian culture and the Middle Eastern culture.

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Baudrillard and hyper reality

Some texts are difficult to distinguish between reality and simulation of reality. The text may therefore exaggerate certain aspects. Mean Girls is a hyper realistic interpretation of school and this may skew an audience’s perception of what a modern school is like whereby audiences may believe that school is dominated by cliques with fights breaking out all of the time.

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The elite control the media; the media then control the distribution of ideas and messages to the masses and therefore has control over societies mind-set. Right wing conservatism published from Most of Britain’s newspapers creates a right-wing society.

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Liberal pluralism:

 Disagrees with the Marxist idea; it states that there are multiple access points in the media for more of societies different views to be publicised. Enhanced by social media as it allows for the free publication of ideologies  and views online.

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Modernism is a theory that examines the way in media is created. It looks particularly at the departing from classical and traditional media forms. It looks as the creation of experimental pieces and the idea of self-consciousness/irony. It basically looks at society and may criticise or applaud it. Fire at Sea is a film that examines societies negative attitude toward refugees and therefore considers the irony and negative aspects of society

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Areas that were once colonial territories still feel the negative effects of the era. White people are presented as saviours and people of colour are presented almost like savages in need of saving by a white protagonist. The film Gran Torino presents a racist elderly male who eventually comes to his senses regarding race and helps a community of Koreans escape their gang problem.

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Post 9/11 and the media

Before 9/11 many of the villains in the media where based upon Russian characters due to the cold war. Before that, they were German and Japanese due to the second world war. After 9/11 the media became insecure and paranoid with many films being made to create a pro-America patriotic message. Argo sees an American being able to rescue other Americans from a hostile Islamic country and promotes the idea of American superiority and promotes the idea of Islamophobia.

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News values

 A method used by news companies to decide what makes a good story. A good news story combines human interest, the ethics of the news, the immediacy of the story and whether it is close to home. The right wing daily express newspaper will value an immigration story as highly important as it is human interest, it fits their conservative ethics, often will have an immediacy nature and is close to home.

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