A2 media cid lesson 7 fiske theory slides_handouts
FISKE TELEVISION CULTUREChapter 9 – Reading Character “television is centrally concerned with the representation of people”
Overview of Theory– Representation in TV drama is different to that in Film and News due to the formal conventions of TV drama: • series & serials / mid shots, close ups, 2 and 3 shots to establish identities and camera movement to focus on individuals– The actors become physical embodiments of the characters they play (can be difficult to distinguish between the actor and character) and blur reality– The repeated representation of the characters invites audience members to identify with the different characters– Which characters we identify with will depend on our own social and cultural experience and background– This process of identification surpasses TV representations as simply ideological (repressive dominant ideology) and allows active audience participation • Audiences make meaning from their reading of characters based upon their own individual experience – do they identify with the characters? Are they like them or different to them?
Idea 1TV audiences have unique relationships with therepresentation of characters compared to other Media formsdue to the structure of TV series, stylistic conventions anddeveloped familiarity with a programme’s characters: “the constant repetition of a character means that characters “live” in similar time scales to their audience. They have a past, a present and a future that appear to exceed their textual existence, so that audience members are invited to relate to them in terms of familiarity and identification…this offers the viewer a quite different relationship to the character from that offered by film, where the end of the film is normally the end of the character.”
Idea 2“The representation of characters in TV drama is a complex form ofrepresentation” for it is constructed by: – the text (use of mid shots, close ups, two and 3 shots etc…) – the narrative (role of the character in the way the plot develops) – the body of the player (what the actor looks like), and – The performance of the actor.“Reading character requires the viewer to negotiate…that boundarybetween the representation and the real and the ideologicalrelationship between them”• This negotiation must be conducted in two ways: 1. the relationship between the real world of the player and the represented one of the character and 2. the real world of the viewer and that of the character /player they watch
Idea 2 model Constructed Representation by the writers & producers THE CHARACTER Physical Stereotypical Social values & appearance individual ideology of actor characteristics embedded in playing the of represented representation character character of the character Audience Readings of Representation(different viewers can identify with any or all of these 3 aspects of construction – this aids polysemic readings)
Idea 3TV audiences are invited to see characters as ‘real’.Individual characters are given some stereotypicalcharacteristics, they may be like someone we know orhave known and we gain pleasure from seeing how theyexperience their ‘lives’: “Realism proposes that a character represents a real person. The text provides us with adequate pointers to the characteristics of the person being portrayed: we, the viewers, then call upon our life experience of understanding real people…to fill out the characteristics in our imagination so that we make the character into a “real” person whom we “know” and has a “life” outside the text”
Idea 4Characters in TV drama are read as individuals but also the representation of social positions and thevalues embodied in them. Audiences are made up of different people with different viewpoints sohow they read a representation of young people will depend on their own experience of youngpeople. “understanding of character is polysemic…a character is a set of values that are related through…similarity and difference to other characters. “Many viewers report that one of the main sources of the pleasure of television is the opportunities it offers to identify with certain other characters, to share their emotions and experiences…Imagining how he or she would have behaved had they been in a character’s shoes at a particular moment *is+ an active identification that has the reader sharing the role of the writer.” “The viewer is less a subject of the dominant ideology and more in control of the process of identification through his or her own meanings. Finding pleasure in TV is connected to liking and disliking…the real and unreal. *Audiences+ judge characters on how real they seemed but the characters they like appear more real than those they dislike”Refer back to the ‘idea 2’ model on slide 5 – this shows how different audience members can identifywith different aspects of a character’s representation and polysemic readings can therefore be formed
Idea 5Any viewer may find in her / himself a numberof points of relationship with the personal /social and ideological values seen in anycharacter: “A viewer implicates him / herself with a character when that character is in a similar social situation or embodies similar social values to the viewer, and this implication offers the reward of pleasure. They allow space for the viewer to read character and incident as bearers of social value and thus to negotiate readings that relate to his or her social position
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