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  • 1. SECTION A: THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF COURSEWORK Narrative Theory
  • 2. Lesson Objectives
    • To understand a range of narrative theories.
    • To be able to apply narrative theory to the analysis of a media text.
    • To evaluate the usefulness of narrative theories.
  • 3. Put these events in order
    • Detective investigates
    • Crime conceived
    • Crime discovered
    • Detective identifies criminals
    • Crime committed
    • Crime planned
  • 4. The story is…
    • a) Crime conceived
    • b) Crime planned
    • c) Crime committed
    • d) Crime discovered
    • e) Detective investigates
    • f) Detective identifies criminals
    • Could the story events be arranged in a different sequence to make the narrative more interesting?
  • 5. The plot could be…
    • d) Crime discovered
    • e) Detective investigates
    • f) Detective identifies criminals
    • a) Crime is conceived
    • b) Crime is planned
    • c) Crime is committed
  • 6. Narrative Story vs. Narrative Plot
    • all events referenced both explicitly in a narrative and inferred (including backstory as well as those projected beyond the action)
    • the events directly incorporated into the action of the text and the order in which they are presented
    • Narrative Story
    • Narrative Plot
  • 7. Section A: Theoretical Evaluation
    • You will be asked 2 questions about your coursework.
    • Question 1(a) will ask you to describe and evaluate the development of your coursework from your AS Production to your A2 Production.
    • You will be asked to do this in relation to one or two of the following areas:
      • Digital technology
      • Creativity
      • Research and Planning
      • Post-production
      • Use of media conventions
  • 8. Question 1(b)
    • Question 1(b) will ask you to choose one coursework product (either AS or A2) and evaluate it in relation to a theoretical concept.
    • The exam will specify one concept from the following:
      • Genre
      • Narrative
      • Representation
      • Audience
      • Media Language
  • 9. Definitions of Narrative
    • Narrative is defined as “a chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occurring in time” (Bordwell & Thompson).
    • Narrative is ‘a way of organising spatial and temporal events into a cause-effect chain of events with a beginning, a middle, and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of events’ (Branigan).
  • 10. Narrative Theory
    • Narrative theory analyses the way in which media texts communicate meaning about events.
    • Narrative theory can be applied to range of different media including film, TV. Photographs, and magazines.
    • Narrative analysis of internet based media is more problematic, though may still be relevant. For example, you could consider how someone’s Facebook profile creates a narrative about their life.
  • 11. Narrative
    • Read the chapter on Narrative Theory.
    • Note down key points about the following theorists:
      • Branigan
      • Propp
      • Barthes
      • Todorov
      • Levi-Strauss
    • How useful do you think their perspectives are?
  • 12. Edward Branigan
    • Branigan argues that narrative is ‘ a way of organising spatial and temporal data into a cause-effect chain of events with a beginning, a middle and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of events.’
    • What is Branigan saying? Can you think of an example?
    • Branigan’s key point is that the narrative will embody a judgement – ideology and narrative.
  • 13. Vladimir Propp
    • Propp suggests that there are a limited number of character types that share a function.
    • When an audience reads a media text it deploys its knowledge of these character types in order to decode the meaning of the text.
    • Can you relate any of the character types to the characters in your coursework products?
  • 14. Tzvetan Todorov
    • Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution.
    • How might this be used to analyse the ideology of a media text?
  • 15. Roland Barthes
    • Barthes identifies 5 narrative codes which readers use to decode texts.
    • He emphasises the active role of readers in creating meaning, and their ‘culturally formed expectations’.
    • The narrative codes are:
      • Action
      • Enigma
      • Semic
      • Symbolic
      • Cultural
  • 16. Claude Levi-Strauss
    • Narratives are structured by pairs of binary oppositions.
    • How can this be used to analyse media texts?
  • 17. Postmodern Narratives
    • Some theorists suggest that postmodern narratives are different from previous narrative structures.
    • Characteristics of postmodern narratives include:
      • Irony, playfulness, and black humour
      • Intertextuality
      • Pastiche
      • Metanarratives
      • Extreme self-reflexivity
      • Temporal distortion
      • Hyperreality
    • Linda Hutcheon argues that postmodern narratives can critique contemporary society by calling attention to the constructed nature of the society.
  • 18. Review Theorists Theorist Key Words Todorov Propp Levi-Strauss Barthes
  • 19. Narrative Analysis
    • Apply one of the narrative theories to the analysis of the music video.
    • Narrative analysis involves considering how a range of elements (including mise-en-scene, editing, camerawork, sound, as well as events) create meaning for the audience.
    • Narrative analysis focuses on how the meanings made by the audience are constructed?
    • How useful is this approach?
  • 20. Todorov
    • Equilibrium – the geeky girl is in love with the boy next door who only sees her as a friend.
    • Disequilibrium – the boy’s girlfriend cheats on him?
    • Resolution – the geeky girl is transformed into a beautiful girl and gets together with the boy.
    • What sort of values are reinforced by this narrative structure?
  • 21. Propp – character types
    • Hero – character who seeks something – Taylor Swift
    • Villain – character who the hero must overcome – the girlfriend
    • Princess – the boy – he is the reward for the hero.
    • What effect does the use of these character types have?
    • Why might the hero and villain be female?
    • What values are reinforced by this?
  • 22. Levi-strauss – binary oppositions
    • The video involves a number of pairs of opposites reflecting (and resolving) the narrative conflicts.
    • There are different sets of oppositions between the jock/the geek, and the cheerleader/the geek.
    • These oppositions identify the central ideological messages of the video.
  • 23.
    • Male
    • Sociable
    • Popular
    • Sport
    • Object
    • Female
    • Studious
    • Unpopular
    • Reading
    • Subject
    • Jock
    • Nerd
  • 24. Levi-Strauss
    • What are the key conflicts?
    • Which values are dominant in the pairs?
    • How are the conflicts resolved?
    • What messages are conveyed through this narrative?
  • 25. Barthes – Narrative Codes
    • Action – Viewers are expected to connect different pieces of narrative (e.g. The boy is shown arguing on his phone – viewer assumes it is with his girlfriend).
    • Enigma – Will the jock and the geek get together?
    • Semic – glasses, book, notepads, red car, uniforms, white dress/red dress
    • Symbolic – conflicts between male/female, popular/unpopular, different types of femininity
    • Cultural – the video draws on stereotypes/cliches of teen movies – jock, cheerleader, geek, girl next door, prom, etc.
  • 26. Postmodern approach - Pastiche
    • Frederic Jameson argues that postmodern texts are characterised by pastiche.
    • A pastiche is an imitation of another genre or text.
    • Jameson argues that "Pastiche is...the imitation of a peculiar or unique, idiosyncratic style, the wearing of a linguistic mask, speech in a dead language.”
    • Linda Hutcheon disagrees with this view arguing that postmodern texts use pastiche in a knowing way acknowledging the constructed nature of representation.
    • Does the cliched nature of the video act as a critique of the values it promotes?
  • 27. Applying Narrative Theory
    • In pairs analyse one of your AS or A2 coursework products using narrative theories.
    • Work through either theoretical approach and consider how useful you find them.
  • 28. How useful is narrative theory?
    • Consider how useful you think each of the following perspectives is:
      • Propp
      • Barthes
      • Todorov
      • Levi-Strauss
      • Postmodern Theory