Mass Communication & Media
Literacy 04
Genre
Everyone knows that rock and pop music should
be unfettered, blowing raspberries in the face of
authority and conven...
 Identify one specific text that you have consumed
recently from each of the following media areas
 Journalism, press, m...
Genre
Kind
Type gene, genotype
category
A term for the classification of
media forms
A signifying system that relies on se...
Problems of definition
 Definitions of genre are circuitous
 We define genres based on what we’ve seen or heard of media...
Genre: working definition
 Genre is a recognisable grouping, subset or type of
media form comprising the paradigmatic ele...
What genres do
 Genres provide audiences with a ‘horizon of
expectations’ (Allen & Gomery, 1993: 84)
 What do you expect...
Genres die out
 Western films
 Hollywood musicals
 Rock concept albums
 Beauty contests on TV
 Soviet propaganda film...
Genres mix and merge
Genre synthesis is attractive to Hollywood executives, with its suggested promise of doubling
the aud...
Genre and ideology
 Fiske and Hartley talk of genres as agents of
‘ideological closure’ because they act to close down
th...
Genre: summary
 Think of genre as:
 Sets of codes and conventions concerning content, story,
signification, and thematic...
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Mass communication & Media Literacy 04

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Mass communication & Media Literacy 04

  1. 1. Mass Communication & Media Literacy 04
  2. 2. Genre Everyone knows that rock and pop music should be unfettered, blowing raspberries in the face of authority and convention. Nevertheless, there is a handful of rules. They are there for the general good, and must be obeyed. High on the list comes the one about never mixing rock or pop with classical music. When rock musicians start dabbling in classical music, the best you can hope for is a novelty record, along the lines of B Bumble and the Stingers' Nut Rocker. The worst you can fear is an uncontrollable outbreak of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Meanwhile, the world of classical musicians "going rock" is a dark realm, where gruesome operatic man- bands G4 and Il Divo rule and Lesley Garrett's hair-raising assault on the Beatles' Blackbird is the national anthem. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2005/jul/08/popandrock.shopping2
  3. 3.  Identify one specific text that you have consumed recently from each of the following media areas  Journalism, press, magazines  Radio  Photography  Advertising (print or audio-visual)  Video/computer gaming  Popular music  Film  Television  Think of a general term or label for each text that could be used to categorise it within each medium  What features does your text share with other similar texts from the same field?
  4. 4. Genre Kind Type gene, genotype category A term for the classification of media forms A signifying system that relies on sets of codes and conventions shared by producers and readers of texts What are the common features of different texts that allow them to be grouped together?
  5. 5. Problems of definition  Definitions of genre are circuitous  We define genres based on what we’ve seen or heard of media texts already, in anticipation of others that we might see or hear ... How is this possible?  Women’s magazines – a genre in which differences make a difference but similarity trumps  Using syntagm and paradigm to unpack the complexity
  6. 6. Genre: working definition  Genre is a recognisable grouping, subset or type of media form comprising the paradigmatic elements (stories, rhetoric, signification) that are drawn upon in the creation of individual syntagmatic texts
  7. 7. What genres do  Genres provide audiences with a ‘horizon of expectations’ (Allen & Gomery, 1993: 84)  What do you expect from a TV police series?  Are these key features that despite differences can place TV police series in such a genre?  Genre’s are therefore dynamic – changing diachronically (over time) and synchronically (at any one moment)  The menu of components allows dynamic change within the ‘food’ that is actually served  Genres allow media producers to organise media consumers
  8. 8. Genres die out  Western films  Hollywood musicals  Rock concept albums  Beauty contests on TV  Soviet propaganda films  British war comics  Electro music  Cigarette advertising  Why have these genres died out?  How might we evidence and explain the decline of films, comics and dramatic TV films related to Britain’s role in the Second World War?  What kinds of methods would evaluate the nature of this decline in terms of quantity of texts and their qualities?
  9. 9. Genres mix and merge Genre synthesis is attractive to Hollywood executives, with its suggested promise of doubling the audience. The success of comedy king Judd Apatow is predicated on the notion: what if we took a classic genre skewed towards women, the romcom, and added male-centric humour? Then we'd have a date movie - say, Knocked Up - that both genders wanted to see. Wouldn't that be neat? After all, Titanic, still the world's biggest ever box-office hit, reached the broadest audience possible with its something-for-everyone mix of historical setting, action spectacle and romance. In fact, the success of recent vampire-themed chick hit Twilight seems to confirm the commercial upside in adding youthful romance to the mix. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/mar/22/outlander-mash-up-movies
  10. 10. Genre and ideology  Fiske and Hartley talk of genres as agents of ‘ideological closure’ because they act to close down the meaning potential of a given text and the way that is understood  The symbolic spaces provided by media texts are ultimately conservative and predictable reinforcing a sense that ‘this is the natural order of things’ – no other ways of seeing the world are possible  Think TV sitcoms
  11. 11. Genre: summary  Think of genre as:  Sets of codes and conventions concerning content, story, signification, and thematic treatment – aesthetic dimension  As a way for producers to organise consumers, audiences, readers – this is its economic dimension  As a way for audiences to find types of media texts that appeal and that satisfy the ‘horizon of expectations’ – consumer dimension
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