Media Theories


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Media Theories

  1. 1. Media Theories
  2. 2. Structuralism Ferdinand De Saussure. Structuralism is how films create meaning through the way they are presented based on our cultural understanding. It consists of a system of signs called ‘semiology’. These signs (paradigms) include props, settings, characters, sounds etc are all ways in which information can be conveyed from one person to another.
  3. 3. Roland Barthes codes <ul><li>Barthes had different ways of interpreting texts such as the enigma code and pleasure of text: </li></ul><ul><li>Enigma code: </li></ul><ul><li>This is when something makes the audience question things because of a sense of mystery. </li></ul><ul><li>Pleasure of text: </li></ul><ul><li>This is when the audience correctly predict what is going to happen and so seeing this play out in front of them gives the audience pleasure. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Tzvetan Todorov’s narrative theory <ul><li>Todorov’s narrative theory is based on equilibrium in which there are four stages; equilibrium, moment of disequilibrium, disequilibrium and new equilibrium. </li></ul><ul><li>Equilibrium: </li></ul><ul><li>There is always a rough sense of balance and harmony at the start of every media text and film. </li></ul><ul><li>Moment of disequilibrium: </li></ul><ul><li>Something bad happens and equilibrium is ruined. </li></ul><ul><li>Disequilibrium: </li></ul><ul><li>The hero/heroes struggle to fix the wrongs that have occurred. </li></ul><ul><li>New Equilibrium: </li></ul><ul><li>This is when the villain is defeated and people return to peace, although the new equilibrium is tainted by the experience of someone or something being lost. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Levi Strauss’ binary opposites Binary opposites are to do with both visual and conceptual oppositions. For example, light can convey safety whereas darkness normally conveys danger, this being a visual opposition. An example of a conceptual opposition is love and hate, as well as to do with the soundtrack, whether it consists of string instruments that creates tension or whether it consists of more upbeat music that creates a sense of safety or happiness.
  6. 6. Vladimir Propp’s eight character types In film there are a number of eight character types which are: The villain: Struggles against the hero. The dispatcher: Character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off. The helper (magical): Helps the hero in the quest. The princess or prize: The hero deserves her throughout the story but is unable to marry her because of an unfair evil, usually because of the villain. the hero's journey is often ended when he marries the princess, thereby beating the villain. Her father: gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero, marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished. The donor: prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object. The hero or victim/seeker hero: reacts to the donor, weds the princess. False hero: takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess.
  7. 7. Carol Clover’s final girl theory Carol Clover’s final girl theory suggested that the last surviving girl was always the innocent girl and that the girl who died was the promiscuous girl. She argues that as an audience we are structurally ‘forced’ into identifying with the surviving female and not the killer, signifying that the audience are masochistic.
  8. 8. Sigmund Freud’s theory Freud came up with the theory that everyone has an Id, ego and superego, that are concerned with the mind. He also came up with the idea of sadism (post-oedipal) and masochism (pre-oedipal). As an audience we identify with the surviving female showing a masochistic voyeur.