Media &Collective Identity Exam Topic: Question Two (Section B)
Collective Identities Introduce topic and give sample questions. Task: Read page 47 of textbook for overview of unit. Make note of two sample questions – these are highlighted in the SPECIMEN pack. Area of study will be: ‘Britishness’ – this will be covered concerning two media: Television Film
Task Read pages 47, 48, 49 and top of page 50. Summarise the key points that are made about identity. Feedback to group and make note of any areas missed. Take notes from whiteboard Analysis: How can we analyse representations? What is the relationship between Dominant Ideology and representation?
Politics of Absence What is Politics of Absence? Read page 58, ‘Sexuality and the politics of absence’ and discuss section. Notting Hill: Watch opening sequence and press conference sequence from Notting Hill. Make notes and answer the following questions: What national groups are being represented? Compare the representations of the two groups? What groups are absent? What seem to be the intentions of the representations? What range of readings are there? Home study: Research other representations of Britishness in film? Make reference to specific textual examples. (Next lesson)
Britishness Task: Feedback on homework exercise. Read 59 and 60. Make note of ‘what makes a British film’? Complete activity (Ann Horne) What is British Social Realism? Linda ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’. (1960, KarelReicz) Take notes on mise-en-scene, narrative, cinematography, editing, use of sound, character representation. (Overview sheet)
Home study Attempt the questions on page 65. Make reference to specific examples of textual analysis to reinforce your points and opinions. Saturday Night, Sunday Morning: (KarelReicz) Starter: What makes a British film? How can this be defined? What do you understand by Social Realism? What are the main differences between British New Wave Cinema & Free Cinema? What representation of Britishness were we able to identify within ‘LambethBoys’?Relate to examples of analysis.
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning Reaction – what is the focus of the film? Content, issues faced? ‘Angry young men Dramas’. Classified as ‘one of the first social-realist’ films or kitchen sink dramas’. Shows the despair of working-class life in Britain. (Nottingham – tedious factory job, industrial Britain, Arthur a rebellious factory worker). Social realism (or kitchen sink drama) is a term coined to describe a British cultural movement which developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. ‘Protaganist' usually could be described as angry young men. It used a style of social realism which often depicted the domestic situations of working class Britons living in rented accommodation and spending their off-hours in grimy pubs to explore social issues and political controversies.
Tasks Review the opening sequence – representation of younger / older generation, attitudes and values / lifestyle? Review of Arthur meeting Doreen in the pub – representation of younger / older generation, attitudes and values / lifestyle? Review of Arthur & Bert Go Fishing - representation of younger / older generation, attitudes and values / lifestyle? Review of Arthur in shop and Doreen’s party - representation of younger / older generation, attitudes and values / lifestyle?
Continued . . . Arthur takes Brenda to his Aunties - representation of younger / older generation, attitudes and values / lifestyle? Arthur proposes - representation of younger / older generation, attitudes and values / lifestyle? Essay Question: Consider the representation of Britishness in ‘Saturday Night, Sunday morning’. Relate your opinions to specific examples. (Key sequences / analysis).
Britishness – key points Britishness has changed drastically throughout history. Why is this? Social & Cultural attitudes within society Quote to use: Arthur Marwick stated that a ‘cultural revolution began during the 1950s – this can be identified through a rise in the standard of living previously never experienced by working / middle class people, as well as new technologies becoming more accessible for everyone’.
Representations Changes in the media to reflect changes in society – in 1959, the Tory prime Prime Minister suggested that the old class divisions were beginning to reduce The nation was becoming more liberal (ideas and attitudes) – This can be seen in Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1960) and introduced the new concept of ‘the teenager’. Contrast between the older and younger generation Values, attitudes, lifestyle Is in complete contrast to the 1940s and ‘Brief Encounter’ (1945) (15 years between the films being made).
Comparison What are the main differences between the two films? (Attitudes, values) The media were quick to represent these changes in society within these media productions. Essay Question: Discuss the historical representation of Britishness using specific textual examples from at least two media to support your answer.
Identity According to the Collins English Dictionary, identity means: ‘State of being a specific person or thing: individuality or personality . . . . ‘ Page 47 1) Textual analysis (Contemporary representations, Gavin & Stacey / Fish Tank) 2) Comparison of contemporary with historical (Brief Encounter, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Hard Day’s Night, Coronation Street (Closely compared with SNSM) 3) Audience Interpretation – Effects of repetition in the media of stereotypes on groups being stereotyped. (Read page 49).
Continued 4) Forming collective identities: Actively using the media. (Page 48 – constructing an identity.) How is this the case with Facebook? 5) Debates: Katherine Hamley Buckingham David Gauntlett
Britishness In pairs, discuss what you think Britishness means? Relate this to identity. ‘Britishness is a term referring to a sense of national identity of the British people, and common culture of the UK’.
Critical Identity ‘Theory’ Katherine Hamley – ‘media use in identity construction’. The construction of a personal identity can be somewhat difficult / problematic Young people are surrounded by influential imagery – popular media (Examples?) It is no longer possible for an identity to just be constructed in a small community and influenced by a family (Discuss) Everything concerning our lives is ‘media saturated’ (What does this mean?)
Continued When constructing an identity, young people make use of imagery derived from popular media. ‘It has become increasingly common for young children to have their own TV and music systems in their bedrooms whilst also having easy and frequent access to magazines especially aimed at the ‘developing’ child and/or teenager’. Such young people have a way of accessing the internet, whether it be at school, or sometimes at home. The freedom of exploring the web could be limited depending on the choices of their parents and teachers.
Access ‘If young people have such frequent access and an interest in the media, it is fair to say that their behaviour and their sense of ‘self’ will be influenced to some degree by what they see, read, hear or discover for themselves’. (Use) This can affect the way they behave, dress or the kind of music they may listen to. These are aspects which go together to construct a person’s own personal identity.
Buckingham He classifies identity as an ‘ambiguous and slippery’ term; Identity is something unique to each of us, but also implies a relationship with a broader group; Identity can change according to our circumstances; Identity is fluid and is affected by broader changes; How can you relate this to Britishness? Identity becomes more important to us if we feel it is threatened;
David Gauntlett Identity is complicated, however, everybody feels that they have one; Religious and national identities are at the heart of major international conflicts The average teenager can create numerous identities in a short space of time (Especially using the Internet, social networking sites, etc.) We like to think we are unique, but Gauntlett questions whether this is an illusion, and we are all much more similar than we think.
Contemporary British Social Realism Use page 61 – 65. What do you understand by Contemporary British social realism? Social realist films attempt to portray issues facing ordinary people in their social situations. Social realist films try to show that society and the capitalist system leads to the exploitation of the poor or dispossessed. These groups are shown as victims of the system rather than being totally responsible for their own bad behaviour. ‘These places represent an everywhere of Britain, where relationships are broken down and where people have become isolated and disconnected. Their Britishness is their culturally specific address to audiences at home’. (Murray, 2008)
Audience Social realist films which address social problems in this country offer a very different version of ‘collective identity’ than British films which are also aimed at an American audience. Films like Notting Hill and Love Actually reach a much bigger audience than the lower budget social realist films. Social realist films are aimed at a predominantly British audience. If many more people see the more commercial films, consider which version of our collective identity is the more powerful or has the most impact.
Analysing Representation of Collective Identity When comparing how Britishness and our collective identity is represented in films consider the following questions: Who is being represented? Who is representing them? How are they represented? What seems to be the intentions of the representations? What is the dominant discourse? (World view offered by the film). What range of readings are there? Look for alternative discourses
Exemplar Question & Essay Plan How far does the representation of a particular social group change over time? Refer in detail to at least two media in your answer. Introduction: Identify which social group you are analysing and which media you are using. British / Tv/ Film What do you understand by collective identity? Explain that different theorists have different points and refer to at least two of the following: Gauntlett Buckingham Hamley Introduce what is meant by ‘Britishness’ Show that you are aware that both identity and Britishness are ambiguous terms and mean different things to different people.
Continued Explain that the Media contributes to our sense of ‘collective identity’ but there are many different versions that change over time. Representations can cause problems for the groups being represented because marginalized groups have little control over their representation / stereotyping. The social context in which the film / TV programme is made influences the messages / values/ dominant discourse of the film.
British Social Realism Explain social realism and apply to Saturday Night, Sunday Morning and first Coronation Street episode. Relate to a contemporary example – Fish Tank. Explore the dominant discourse of the film and possible alternative readings. Compare to more commercial products and explain the difference. Use Love Actually and Gavin & Stacey. Consider what representation is most powerful in constructing a collective identity for Britishness in view of audience size.