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    Glen Creeber whole text Glen Creeber whole text Presentation Transcript

    • CASESTUDY Shot-by-Shot Glen Analysis Creeber All approaches the textuality of televisionwill rely to (with the possibleexceptionsof Butler [199a], Selby on a basicunderstandingof sound and image and the and Cowdery [1995] and Bignell 12004])even cover language used to discussthem. This is normally this sort offundamental analysis.This a greatshame is reGrred to as a 'shot-by-shot' analysisthat allows all as,in my view, too many television studentsare leav- textual approachesto examine television in a suc- ing universities as skilled semioticiansbut without cinct and universal manner whatever the particular knowing the difference bef,weena lbng shot and a methodology employed. Unlike Film Studies (for close-up. example, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompsont Karen Lury (2005) has recently examined the Film Art: An Introduction 11990]),TelevisionStudies television text by breaking it down into four com- hasbeensurprisingly poor at providingstudents with ponentsi.e.'Image','Sound','Time'and.Space'.This a basic understanding of how to study and discuss is a useful way of looking at the different textual the basic components of a television text. Indeed, it components of television and can provide a good f is surprising how few introductions to television sourcefor further reading.However, for the pur"por. I
    • A n al ysi ng Telev is ion of this section I will loosely followJohn Fiske,s clas- a high-angle shot may encourage the viewer to feel sic examination of television through ten major cat_ a sense of power over the action, a low-angle shot egories.According to Fiske,such an analysisshould may produce a sense of intimidation or inferioriry include examining these basic 'codes of television, for the viewer. Equally, an eye-level shot might (1987,4-r3): construct a sense of empathy and equality between the viewer and the action.A shot,/reverse shot may . Camerawork also be useful in these circumstances, a method by . Lighting which two shots are edited together so as to follow . Editing the dialogue in a conversarion. . Sound and music Different types of lenses or focus can also be used . Graphics in the construction of a shot.While a standard-lens . Mise en scine shot tends to approximate the same depth of field . Casting and proportions as you get in real life, the wide- . Setting and costume angle shot and the telephoto lens can dramatically . Make-up alter the senseof depth or point of view (for example, . Action the telephoto lens can create a greater sense of . Dialogue voyeurism). . Ideologicalcodes Equally the use of focus in a scene car- create a different style or mood. For example, soft focus may Fiske'sinventory can act as a good checklist when heighten the sense of romance in a scene while deep writing an essayand it is certainly important to focus (where everything is equally in focus) is more understand these categoriesin some detail before likely to be used to create a sense of realism. Shallow embarking on your own analysis. focus (where parts of the scene are in focus and oth- ers are not) may be used to suggest a sense of docu_ CAMERAWORK mentary realism (where focus is traditionally harder To be able to discussthe camerawork that disrin- to control) or used to direct a viewer's attention ro a gu.ishes piece of television is clearly an important a particular object or piece ofaction. first step in applying textual analysis to the small Finally, the rype of camera used can influence the. screen.For example,the size of a shot can clearly style and feel of a piece of television. For example, a influence how a particular sceneor piece ofaction is hand-held carnera or Steaficam (a camera that is portrayed.'V/hile a long shot (or extreme long strapped to the body of a cameraman) is often used shot) may make the viewer feel distant from the in documentaries because it is lighter and generally action (this is why it is sometimesused as an estab- easier to manoeuvre than other types of camera that lishing shot i.e. a shot that establishes where the might operate on a crane, dolly (a wheeled carrrera action is to take place),a medium shot (sometimes support) or tracks (known as tracking). However, known as a head-and-shoulders shot), close-up when employed in drama a hand-held camera might (or extreme close-up) can encouragethe viewer,s produce a great sense of realism because its shaky, sense of intimacy with what is raking place on seemingly unrehearsed sryle gives a greater impression screen.Similarly a point-oGview shot (i.e. when that the events on screen are taking place sponta- the camerasimulatesthe perspectiveof a particular neously. This effect may be extenuated with whip character)may encouragethe viewert identification pans i.e. when a carr.era moves so fast that there is with an individual in the story to see it'through momentarily a loss of focus. their eyes'. The choice between filrn stock (for example, The angle of a shot is also important in the way fine or grainy) may also alter the general look and in which it constructsthe acrion.For example,while feel of a piece of television.'While fine film stock
    • Cathy Come Home: Long shot (LS) Medium shot (MS) Close-up (CU) or head-and_shoulders shot Extreme close-up (XCU) may denote 'quality drama' a documentary feel is modern TV this now usually involves more likely to be achieved with a slightly more than more three lights but the basic principles gralny stock. remain the same, producing an evenly iighted scene.As such, any devi_ ation from this norm generally produces LIGHTING a strikins or unusual efrect. For example, if a subject The way a certain scene is lit can is iit priira_ often add to the rily from below (underlighting) mood or the style of a piece of television. it may ...ate a To put it more sinisrer effect while being crudely, very low lighting can produce lit primarily from , ,o_tr" o, behind (backlighting) depressing mood while very high can creace a-grearer sense of lighting can add mysrery. to a feeling of gaiety or optimism. In g.rr.."l practrce The choice berween soft lighting a grear deal ofTV uses three_point and hard lighting when lightingcan also make a difference to aicene..Whije a subject is lit from three sources, one light provides soft lighting can enhance the warmth ihe main source, one light fills in of a scene,hard the ,h"do*, ,rra lighting tends to procluce the sort one lisht is placed behind the subject. of harshness nrore Of course, rn commonly associated with documentary realism. A
    • A n a lysing Te levisio n 41 badly lit sequence with little contrast may also (eating, talking, ironing, and reading and so on) it enhance the documentary feel of a scene, as docu- relies heavily on sound. Theme tunes, continuity mentary-makers usually have to rely on the light that announcements, news readers, voice-over cornmen- is available to them.'While in documentary a badly lit tary sound effects and so on all try to capture our scene may be unavoidable, in drama it is probably attention in a space where there is much (unlike the done deliberately so as to produce a greater sense of darkened arena of a cinema or theatre) to distract us actuakty (see Chapters 4 and 5). (see Chapter 1). As Rick Alcman puts it, the sound- track of a television prognmme continually shouts EDITING to us:'Hey, you, come out of the kitchen and watch of (Channel As everyex-participator BigBrother 4, this!' (cited by Seiter, 1992:45).Tttts is not only true 1,999-) seems to agree, editing plays an enormous in the case of the most obvious musical sequences role in the way a viewer may interpret a piece of tel- (think of the pounding drums that signif' the begin- evision. Editing can be done live (or'as live') with ning or end of EastEnders p8C,1985*]) but also in multiple carneras or at the stage of post-production. less obvious places (think of the loud thumping Certainly in the Blg Brother house a post-production sound that accompanies the digital clock display as editing process not only selects the action that its the seconds tick by in 24 lFox,2001-l). producers think is important, but it is pieced together While all sound clearly needs to be analysed, in such a way that a story or narrative is constructed, perhaps music is often the point where it is most often complete with heroes, villains, love stories and obvious or powerfrrl. Music can transform the moving cliff-hangers.'While chronological editing (some- image, making it more dramatic, moving or exciting. times referred as continuity editing) characterises You don't have to be a musicologist to have opinions the live coverage of the Blg Brother house, cross- about the sort of music being used or the reasons cutting betlveen scenes in the edited highlights can why it has been chosen. Flowever, you can be sure not only speed up the action and add suspense but that music is rarely accidental as it can so clearly play can also manipulate how certain participants are a crucial role in the overall style and mood that aTV portrayed. programme is trying to create (see Lury 2005: How t'"vo scenes are edited together may also 57-e4). have an effect on viewer perception. For example, a In terms of terminology,diegetic sound or dissolve between shots may produce a seamlessfeel music means that it is clearly meant to be coming while a jump cut (an abrupt cut between scenes) is from a sourcewithin the story or scene. example, For sometimes used to emphasise the juxtaposition of in EastEnders may hear a pop song on the juke- you scenes. Although more usual in drama, Big Brother box in the pub or from the radio in the cafii. may also employ flashbacks (i.e. a scene &om the However, when the music or sound arrives apparendy past that cornments in some way on the action taking from'nowhere' then it is non-diegetic i.e. the music place in the present) and even rnontage (a number or sound has no recognisablesource within the ofscenes quickly edited together) to create a sense of narrative world (seeButler, 1994: 204). Of course, dramatic action (asin a housemate's'bestmoments'). sometimesit is the lack of music or sound that is Montage, for example, is often used inTV advertising notable,perhapsapparentin a drama that is hoping and music videos where a greater sense of intensiry to capture a greater senseof documentary realism. and information needs to be constructed within a This may be the reason why a soap opera like strictly limited rime. EastEnders rarely usesnon-diegetic music,asto do so would risk breaking the form of realismthat it strives SOUND MUSIC AND so hard to achieve. However. this doesnot mean that Because television is a domestic medium and diegetic music is not frequently used for effect inevitably broadcasts while we are doing other things because clear is. it
    • Tele-Visions a2 Teelwiqte Effect Establishing shot (ES) Usually setsthe scene (e.g.a shot of the house where the actlon takesplace) Long shot (LS) Distancing, removed, neutral (often used in an establishing shot to set the scene) Extreme long shot (XLS) Distant, removed Close-up (Ct) (head-md-shouldersshot) Intimacy, empathy Extreme-close uP (XCLJ) Emotion, drama,a vital moment Shot/reverseshot (SRS) Creating a dialogue between two people High-angle shot (HAS) Domination, power, authority 'Weakness, powerlessness Low-mgle shot (LAS) Eye-level shot (ELS) Equality, empat Point-of-view shot (POS (usuailysimulating a characterbview Individual perspective of a scene) Wide-angle lens Dramatic Standrd lens normality Everydayness, Telephoto lens Voyeurrsm Soft focus Romance Deep-focus (everything is ir focus) Everydayness,normality Shallow focus (a sceneonly partially in focus) Draws attention -'look at this' Three-point lighting (a subject is lit three ways) Normality Low-key lighting (or chiaroscuro) griry Sombre,depressing, Underiighting (light sourcefrom below) Sinister Backlighting (ight sourcefrom behind) Mysterious, enigrnatic Soft lighting Complimentary, warmth Hard lighting Realistic, gritty Fine film stock Natural, everydayness Grainy film stock Documentary realism Hand-held camera (Steadicam) Shaky, documentary realism Vhip pan (momentary lack of focus) Documenmry real.ism efited together) Ailowing one sceneto coment on the action of mother Cross-cutting (two scenes Dissolve Continuity Jump cut Jutaposition Flashback(a sceneftom the Past) Narrative and temporal dePth Montage Action, intensiry drama Diegetic music,/sound(from an identifiable source in the Realistic narrative) Non-diegetic music/sound (not from an identifiable source Dramatic and emotionai in the narrative) Figure 2. A Summary of TelevisionTechniquesand Their Potential Effects. Adaptedftom Sefu andCowdery(995:57). GRAPHICS increasingly foregrounded in the television image. One aspect of television not mentioned by Fiske Indeed, printed words and graphic images increasingly (1987) in gre t deal ofdetail is its use ofgraphics' determine the look, style and meaning of a television ^ Graphics have always been important to television, image..Whether graphic images are responsible for a look at any old newsreel and you will see maps, whole set (as is often the case in modern news diagrams and tables constantly being employed as a programrnes) or are superimposed over the image form of illustration. Flowever, in more recent years (sometimes running, for example, along the bottom cotnputer- of the screen), television increasingly uses graphic ftrarticularly since the introduction of generated images [CGI]), graphics have become images and written text to add meaning and style to
    • A n al ysi n g T elev is ion 43 Like sound and music we may all of its programmes. ignore the inevitable differences that exist between not alwaysbe aware of graphics being used (how different societies and the sometimes subde differ- often, for example,do you even notice a channel's ences by which individuals and different audiences logo in the corner of the screen?), but to ignore determine their own meanings (see Chapter 6).This them in analysisis to leave out a hugely influential is one of the greatest problems with textual analysis, element by which meaning is clearly produced. its apparent willingness to predetermine and categorise all rmeaning for all viewets. Nevertheless, it is hoped MISE SCEIVE EN that such a table simply helps the student to isolate A11 these elements (and more) of composition are and undersand some of the ways in which a particular generally referred to as the mise en scDtte. Originally technique may effect and influence a viewer's reading a theatre term meaning'staging', it simply refers to of the text. everything that can be seen on the screen (see Figure 5 can certainly tell us a great deal about Corner, 1.999:31). According to Jeremy G. Butler, the television sound and image..While not trying to 'mise en scine thss includes all the objects in front of determine universal meanings between'technique' the camera and their arrangements by the director and'effect', it does reveal how there is inevitably a and his or her minions. In short, mise en scine is the strong relationship benveen the rr;vo.For example, it organisation of setting, costuming, lighting a;nd actor explicitly reveals how realisrn is always as construct- mouement' (1994:101).It is, therefore, a usefirl term ed a televisual form as fantasy, and that all forms of when trying to describe or locate the overall style or programming construct the viewer's point ofview in composition of a prograrnrne or a particular such a way that meaning (if not predetermined) is sequence. For example, the general mise en scine was clearly being manipulated. It is the job of textual dark and gloomy, bright and optimistic and so on. analysis to reveal that process of manipulation, and while it may not always be'accruate'in its assessment CONCLUSION (or empirically verifiable in its results), it can clearly It can take time and practice to get used to these remind us of the potential ways in which that terms, but Figure 5 may provide a crude but useful manipulation can operate.While it needs to be used sumrnary of some of the major points.This table is with great care, textual analysis provides us with a inevitably reductive and simplistic.The codes and form and language through which the possible conventionsoftelevision vary greatly under different results of that manipulation can be analysed, dis* cultural, historical and economic systems. sayA * To cussed and debated. B : C in terms of television sound and imaqe is to
    • lssues ldeology Discourse of and GlenCreeber One nation/under god/has turned into/one nation way of seeing the world that is articulated through under the influence of one drug - television, the language, imagery gesture, metaphor and so on. The drug of the nation . . . term ideology first appeared in post-revolutionary France at the end of the eighteenth century to simply 'Television, the Drug of the Nation', The mean 'a science of ideas' (see Cormack , 1992:9),but Disposable Heroes of HiphoPrisy. the notion of ideology that we understand today owes most to the definition of the concept originally This chapter could have centred on many forms of outlined by classical Marxistn. In particular, Karl television analysis ranging from semiotics, psycho- Marx (who established the fundamental principles of analysis, narrative theory genre study and so on (see Communism in work such as The Communist Chapter 2). However, the reason why ideology was Manifesto [1848] written with Friedrich Engels) used chosen over all other forms of analysis is because it the term to describe the way in which those in plays such an important role in almost every other power distort meaning. approach. Critiques such as semiotics and narrative According to classical Marxism, capitalist socie- theory clearly rely on fundamental notions ofideology ty is profoundly unjust, constructed in such a way to offer conclusions about texrual signification, while that only the ruling class (or bourgeoisie) benefits matters of institutional and political theory would economically from its form and structure. In partic- be of little use without its conceptual underpinnings. ular, it argues that the bourgeoisie (owners of the Despite ideology becoming rather unfashionable in 'means of production'i.e. factories and other indus- recent years for its sometimes deterministic tries) exploits the working class (or proletariati-e- approach to the television text and context (hence the workers who sell their labour power) for the rise of discourse theory - see below), ideology economic gain, a social imbalance that is reflected in remains an important concept around which televi- all aspects of capitalist society.The bourgeoisie man- sion has been formed and discussed. ages to retain this supremacy over the proletariat by making the economic inequalities in society look WHAT IDEOLOGY? IS perfectly normal and unchangeable. It is ideology A simpledefinitionof ideologyis di{Ecult it because that does this, distorting the profound inequalities is a complex and higtrly contested term. But at its of capitalist society until they appear completely most basic level ideology refers to the ideas and natural. beliefs by which human beings come to understand For Marx, the base (i.e. the economic strucrures the world and their place in it. There are, of course, upon which a society is based) directly determines different ideologies that attempt to explain the world the superstructure (i.e. the legal, political, religious, to us (religious, political, philosophical and so on), aesthetic, cultural, moral and philosophical ideolo- but whatever form it takes, ideology is a particular gies) around which a society operates. As Marx and
    • D e c oding T ele vision 45 Engels famously put it in The German Ideology (1'998 1. Ideology is a false (or at least distorted) way of [orig. pub. 1845]:67): seeing the world of social relations (i.e. the ways in which people, or groups of people, interrelate The ideas ofthe ruling classare in every epoch the with each other). ruling ideas:i.e., the classwhich is the rultng materi- 2. lt is based on the economic and social structure aI force of society is at the same time its niling intel- of society, to the extent that it is seen as arising Iectualforce.The classwhich has the means of mate- naturally from that structure. Thus the economic rial production at its disposal,consequently also con- structure ofsociety gives rise to a parricular social trols the means of mental production, so that the structure and out of this ideology emerges. ideas of those who lack the means of mental pro- 3. It is linked only to the dominant fruling] class in duction are on the whole subiect to it. society, which attempts to impose its ways of see- ing the world on to the subordinate classes. As this suggests,ideology normalisesthe dominant 4. Its essential character is to present as natural, and ideas of the ruling class until they become accepted almost God given, a form of society which sys- by all sections of society as perfectly natural. An tematically works in favour of a few (those who example of the way the dominant ideology might profit from the organisation of society by being in 'naturalise' societal norms is the notion behind'the the dominant class), against the interests of the divine right of kings'. Such a concept decrees that majority (those whose work supports the domi- God has chosen certain families to rule and so their nant class but who do not themselves greatly power and wealth is beyond question or dispute. profit by this work). Similarly, when the Christian hyrrrn, AII Things Bright 5. It is thus not a conspiracy invented by the domi- and Beautiful,originally included the lines:'The rich nant class,but rather a way of seeing the world man in his casde/The poor man at his gatelHe made which even the members of the dominant class them high or lowly,/And ordered their estate', it gave see only as natural. the impression that different levels of social class are actually ordained by a higher power. Seen in this light, Changes have clearly taken place in the contempo- the hymn proposed an ideology that attempted to rary notion of ideology (see below), but this original explain and naturalise the huge differences in wealth conception of ideology undoubtedly influenced a that exist in sociery as literally God giuen. Indeed, great deal ofTelevision Studies, particularly its early Marx famously proclaimed that religion is'the opium development. of the people' (Man<, 1982: 131), meaning that religion 'While dulls the pain caused by oppression. the APPLYING IDEOLOGY TELEVISION TO Christian notion of eternal damnation makes the pro- For the purpose Srudies is important ofTelevision it letariat fearfirl of breaking social norms, the promise to understand the role that TV (and the media in of a heavenly reward keeps them satisfied with the general) plays in maintaining the ideological power hardships they experience in their present life. of the bourgeoisie.Although Marx himself said very For Marxists, all social institutions (not only reli- litde about the media (of course, television was not gion, but also the government, the law the media even invented during his lifetime), Marxists today and so on) construct a similarly distorted view of the would argue that it is crucial that television critics world. From a classical Marxist perspective, the pro- examine the means by which the medium reflects letariat live in a state of 'alienation'or'false con- the views and concerns of the ruling class. They sciousness', constantly denied real insight into the might argue, for example, that TV quiz and game true nature of their own exploitation. Mike shows validate and perpetuate the materialist aspects Cormack has recendy summed up these major of capitalist society with their expensive prizes and points (2000: 94): huge cash wins.They might also argue that they help
    • f5 Tele-Visions to create the misleading illusion that great wealth is out colour discrimination, faithfirlly serve under her arrailable to all members of the public regardless of flag' [ibid:116]) essentially offers an ideological their social class,reinforcing the misconception that critique. knowledge (and skill) always produces high rewards This belief in the ideological structure of culture (see Fiske, 7987:266). and storytelling was also reflected in aspects of struc_ This classically Marxist notion of ideology was turalist narrative theory (see Chapter 2). clearly reflected in the critique oftelevision offered According ro Tzveran Todorov (1977), narratlve in the 1930s and 1940s by the Frankfurt School. structure is not, in itself, either radical or conserya_ The Frankfurt School was one of the first groups of tive. However, more than likely the narrative struc_ intellectuals to take television seriously and used a tures common in any given sociery are usually used Marxist understanding of society to explain the to perpetuate the status quo. For example, narrative medium's role in forming important aspects of capi_ theory has argued that we do not come to under_ talist ideology. In particular, they coined the term stand the world innocently but learn to see it 'cultural industries'to suggest the way that mod_ through a system of opposites. In the history of ern capitalist societies produce some forms of culture 'Western thought these'binary oppositions, might like mass-pro duced commodllies.'Whereas high culture include 'good versus evil', 'mind versus matter', like classical literature and classical music possessed 'speech versus wriring','man versus woman', .white artistic integriry mass (-produced) culture like news_ versus black','-West versus East' and so on. Flowever, papers, magazines, popular music, pulp fiction, radio, these binary oppositions are not defined equally but television etc. churned out standardised and formu_ hierarchically i.e. the second term is usually seen as a laic cultural products, simply designed to keep the corrulttion of the first.This means that the very struc_ masseshappy and deluded in their exploitation (see tures by which we understand the world are inher_ the Introduction). For Theodor Adorno, .the con_ ently ideological i.e. white is superior to black, man cepts of the order which it [the culture industry] is superior to woman, theWest is superior to the East hammers into human beings are always those of the and so on. status quo'. Its effects are profound andfar reaching, These binary opposirions have important impli_ 'the power of the culture industryt ideology is such cations for ideological analysis. For example, televi_ that conformity has replaced consciousness'(1991: sion news may be seen as construcling images of the e0). political world that works on the binary opposition Classical Marxist notions of ideology were alsoat of 'us'and'them'. For American and European tele_ the very heart of structuralism and semiotics (see vision this could mean presenting the West as .good,, Chapter 2). Roland Barthes' famous semiotic 'fair' and just' and the East as .chaotic,,,untrustwor_ account of culture in Mythologies (1973 [orig. pub: thy'and even'evil', as this small list of binary oppo_ 19571 clearlycould not have been conceivedwith_ sitions revealg with reference to the media coveraqe out incorporating this type of social critique into irs of the Iraq war (cited by Lacey,2000: 69): analysis.Put crudely, Barthes argues that ,myth, is simply the illusion by which ideology is presentedto We They the world asnatural.According Barthes, to a.conjur_ Our missilescduse. . . Their missilesmuse. . . ing trick hastaken place;it [myth] hasturned realicy ' We ... inside out, it has emptied it of history and has filled They . . Precision bomb Fire widely at anything in the skies it with nature . . .' (1973: 1.42).So when Barthes C*oryeBush is . . . SaddamHussein is . . . analyses Paris-Match a cover photograph of a young At peace with himself Demented black soldier salutingthe French flag, his description Resolute Defiant of the mythological 'connotarions' of its message Statesmanlike An evil tyrant (that'F.rance a great empire,that all her sons, Assured A crackpot monster is with_
    • D e c oding T ele vision 47 Similarly, the general structure of storytelling This kind of stereotlping is another example of (order/disorder/order suggests how ideology naturalisesculture, creating distorted restored) implicitly that things should (and will always) remain as they myths about different social/national/racial groups.The are. In a world of immense poverty, famine, war and word stereotype rvas originally a printing term, derived hardship, the fictional happy endings consistently from the processrvhere rorvs ofrype rvere Literally fixed produced by the big and small screen suggest that on a plate (ca1led the'stereowpe') s.hich then makesan everything will eventually turn out well, that sociery impression on paper.So the term implies nonotonous is essentially just and fair. In this narrative universe regularity - eachpageprinted from a stereorypeis exarf- cowboys with white hats wiil always succeed over stereotypes ly the same.Asthis suggests, enforce a form the ones in black hats, and good (as it is defined by of rigid uniformirv on whole groups, simpLifting indi- the dominant ideology) will always triumph over vidual characteristics into social and ideological clich6s evil. Flowever, the notion of 'good' and'evil'project- - examples might include the savageRed Indian, the ed by such narratives is inevitably biased.Just ask the black mugger, the Islamic terrorist, the Asian shop- Native Americans who were so often caricatured in keepeq the nagging wife and so on. -Westerns as biood-thirsty, cunning sav- Television is particular susceptible to the use of Hollywood ages(seeWright. 1975). stereotypes because the medium often needs to AreYou Being Serued?: stereotypes are commonplace onTV
    • fa Tel e-V i si ons establishcharacter almost instantly before consequently,such a critique of encelosesinterestand switches i" Td- the media tends to over or off (think, for .o.r."irr. ,cultural example' of the kind of stereotyping as passive dupes, that ",rar.rr.., often used in are unable to see television advertising)''while beyond their ideorogicalmanipula- somei"imesharmless, rion. This stereotypes alsobe damaging kind of approach to Media can and sociallydivisive often been Studies has (see Perkins' 1979)' rn particular, referred to as.the hypodermic -bullet Richard Dyer 1o.'mugi" needle, (1977: 30) argues that stereotypes theory,) approach becausethe often work by media aL seen 'splitting' i'e' dividing people as having a dircctinfluence on so that we inevitably individuar, the havethosethathavedonethestereotypingand,those asif a hypodermic needle (or,bunet,) had been put'i...rty into their veins to administer that havebeen stereofyped'This, a or.o,rrrJ, leadsto a classic binary opposition befween.us,"rrd,th._,; drog (see w.illiams, 2003: 171_2). or* -i.rd-"lt.ri.rg Such an .ppi.*f, tends to treat 'normaliry'is reinforced by placing the public aspassiue anyoneseenout- consumers, side our norm as lstrange' who are never abre to ,""a against or'suspicious'. For exam- grain the ple, critics havearguedthat this or form their own opinions. -;;;.;';;". was often the casein - early TV portrayals of homosexuals also questioned the economic that tended to deterrninism either portray gay and lesbian of the dominant ideology theory charactersas evil or arguing objects of ridicule (see'for example' rtr", orrr.. ideorogiesmay also exist that are capsuto, 2000). ,rot ,tri.ay reriant The ideology hidden itt on Marxt economic moder. is thereforeoften p".ti.ol"., it In 't"t"orypt' h", b".., argued that the Marxist obses- ,t."*,i',".," .,",, ilil ffiffitff:|ffi;# *-H;;:I y dominant orideology p.oc.,,.-''"* ignores rorms other orideolo curture i,,th" whatever approach I il:::T:.?:1,':::ffiL,'#i"fl,i:ff:".:T; to ideology fou take it will that if there is a'farseconsciousness,then usually involve similar issues there is arso of reptesentation. clearly a'true consciousness,. It is a concept that is :h:':il* ,;';:":::;il#:;:?:f.;*#.:1, "., .'r--0""*erouslv ,otari,arian arso but appearing philosophically limited risks re-presents reality i.e. it construcb and naive (see fro- p-ri.;,;;Jp..ti,,. "ro "rn..rr-ttot t'%H'f:t,;",,, " or pointo,-.*lF,T does not just take place in the explicit political various Marxist criricshave bias .*.-nL ;;;r*.. or explain theseapparentprob_ endemic in factualTV programmes such asnews and lems with the classical current afFairs' although clearly this is an important notion of ideology. Roland Barthes, for example, accepted source of ideological distortion (see that resistancecan below)' It also take place clearly takesplace in apparently the dominant ideology. -Frowever, lesspolitically moti- he argued"*;* resistanceis tiat vated genres such as soap opera only a'owed to take (see,for example, plr.. Mumford' 1995)'the TV action series a form of.inocuration, against (see, exam- ", greater for threats.Just as a disease ple' Buxton' 1990)'the police show like porio is prevented by (see, example, for injectin! tirry clarke'1986)andthesitcom(see,forexample,wagg, of it into the boay (thereby " "-oort i--rrrrili.r*,t. patient), so sociefy allows a 1998)'rrom this perspective, sma' television consistently amount of resist; 'naruralises'the around forever world us, t.rrrrrrrg id.- counteract ."rrnl:,tJ';:r#:fJffitt#, ological biasinto a seemingly'r atural' represerr]ao.r. ,rr[j: immunizes th" .orrt.*t of the conective imagination RE_THINKING means of a small inocularion of IDEOIOG' acknowledged classical Marxist'otio,,, ofideology not have been;:1ffi"H"*;',it without criticism' In particular lvr"ot original con- iff1i1;,1'HTl*; managed to continue the drug ception of ideology allowed metaphor that little or tto fo, tvtarxilts rr"a resistance against the -o- to religion, but added a con- dominant ideology. "ppr*a venient and prausibletwist that explained how and
    • De codi n g Telev is ion 49 why capitalistsociety allows resistance take place to operates.Although dominant interests will prevail for (see Fiske,t987:39). most of the tirne, Gramsci argued that there are The Algerian critic Louis Althusser also added places within society where real dissent is felt and more complexity to Marx's original conception of heard (seeTony Bennett et aI. 1992). Contesting the ideology, particularly in his most famous essay, original Marxist notion that ideology is simply a 'Ideology and Ideological StateApparatuses' (1971). reflection of the economic base of sociery Gramsci Most crucially,Althusser investigatedthe notion of argued that ideology exists in a form ofbothJorce and subjectiuity great deal more than Marx, drawing on a consent.In other words, ideology may control society the work of the structural anthropologist L6vi- but how it does so is frequendy a matter of negoti- Strauss and the post-Freudian developmentsin psy- ation (see Gramsci, 1971). Consequently, ideology is choanalysis. argued that ideology cannot simply He always a complex system of domination, resistance be explainedthrough economic determinantsalone, and compromise. As Michael O'Shaughnessy puts it nor is it something simply imposed forcefully on the in 'Box Pop: Popular Television and Hegemony' passive Instead,ideo- individual by the ruling class. (1990: 89-90): logical state apparatuses (ISAs such as religion, education,politics,the law,the family,media and cul- 'Hegemony' recognises the role of the subordinate ture) function in favour of the dominant ideology by groups in producing ways of 'making sense' of the 'interpellating' (or'hailing') us as individuals (see that the'hegemony'or power of world. It suggests Althusser, 1971). the dominant groups can only be maintained AsJohn Fiske(1992a) points out, the implication through a struggle and tension between dominant ofAlthusser'swork is that ideology is not a'static set and subordinate groups. Out of this struggle, ways of of ideas through which we view the world, but a 'making sense' of the world are produced which dynamic social practice, constantly in process, con- both groups contribute to and can agree with.What stantly reproducingitself in the ordinary workings of this means is that although the interests of the two theseapparatuses. alsoworks at the micro-level of It groups are fundamentally opposed they have found the individual' (287-8). Consequendy,Althusser con- a way of living in harmony or consent because the cluded that we should see ideology as part of the subordinate groups have won enough concessionsto very fabric by which we understand ourselves as make them accept their domination while the dom- subjects, the very meansby which we articulateand inant groups' overall structural power base is main- 'We can conse- construct our personal identities. tained. As long as this is not challenged the subordi- quendy never step outside ideology as classical nate grouPs can continue to win more and more Marxism may havesuggested because subjectis a the concessionsand have an effect on the constitution of socialconstruction, a natural one. Like Barthes, not the resulting state of hegemony. then,Althusserdoesnot criticise Marx explicitly but attempts to explain, in detail, the means by which The influence of Gramsci and Althusser on ideology continues to retain control over individuals British Cultural Studies during the late 1970s saw a within modern capitalist societies. resurgence in the use of ideology in the humanities Althusser's understanding of ideology patly generally. This was particularly spear-headed by the grew out of the work of the Italian Marxist Antonio work done at the Universiry of tiirmingham's Gramsci, who also developedMarxt original con- Centre for Cultural Studies (CCCS) under the lead- ception of ideology in books such as The Prison ership of Stuart Hall (see,for example, Hail, 1982). Notebooks (written between the years 1929 and Gramscian notions of ideology certainly influenced 1935). In particular, Gramsci employed the term Hall's ground-breaking article 'Encoding and 'hegemony'to explain the complex and sophisticat- Decoding in Television Discourse' (1980a) ed system of power that modern capitalist sociery that attempted to reveal how all television texts are
    • 5l Tele_Visions 'polysemic'i.e. they can be read by audiences in a little too narrow in its focus. As the clear_cut binary nurnber of ways. Such an approach to television oppositions of the Cold'War began to break down, clearly revealed how audiences do sometimes accepr so the race, class and gender wars also seemed the 'dorninant' to be reading of a programme. Flowever. acquiring more complicated cultural patterns. Hall went on to argue that they can also resist This that appeared to be reflected in a growing interest 'encoded' interpretation, offering .negotiated, rn or 'identity politics'that, while still interesred 'oppositional"decodings, in social in their place (see Hall, class,also focused more on issues of gender, sexuali_ 1980a). ry ethniciry nadonal identiry and so on. As the fem_ It was Hall's article that arguably inspired the rise inist mantra 'the personal is political, appeared of audience studies, which became increasingly to suggest, critics argued that we were now living popular inTelevision, Film and Media Studies in a in the world where more than just brutal economics 1980s and 1990s (seeChapter 6).'!Vhen it was could recog_ determine human consciousness. nisedjust how active audiences could be at decod_ Originating in socio_linguistics, discourse the_ ing programmes the notion of a dominant ideology ory proved particularly attractive to this new indoctrinating devel_ all viewers in the exact same way opment in Cultural Studies. Discourse theory seemed overly simplistic (see Chapter 2). However, argues that there are a number of different .discourses, Hall's notion of a 'preferred' reading was eventually at work within sociefy at any one time, aclively criticised for suggesting rhat the critic could ever con_ be structing the world around us and making sure which reading was preferred or that there sense of was and reproducing realiry by fixing meanirigs. even one preferred reading at all. Despite grandng These discourses might include institutional audiences with the power to offer various readings discourses of such as legal, medical, educational, journalisric a text, his notion ofa.preferred,reading still or suggest_ even popular discourses such as pop music, ed that there was a'dominant ideology, at work, siang, even regional dialects and so on. So, although if resistance to it could take place (see Morley, these dis_ 19g0). courses are not ideologically neutral and do fix Ideological analysis was certainly losing favour meaning, they are not seen as dominant or eternal, during the 1980s and 1990s with critics like neither are they always economically determined Nicholas Abercrombie arguing that once academrcs (see Chapter 2). abandoned the very notion of a dominant ideology Michel Foucault is particularly associated that ideological analysis itself was redundant (see with the origins of discourse analysis in Cultural Abercrombie et aI., 1980). Meanwhile, Studies, Martin his work investigating the means by which Barker's Comics: Ideology,power and the Critics (19g9) different discourses influence the social production of mean_ continued to develop the classicalnotion ofideol_ ing.Through his post-structuralist (see Chapter 2) ogy by introducingVolosinov's notion of dialogism critiques of sociery he showed how legal, into the debate. Instead ofconceiving ideology medical as a and even sexual discourses fix the way in which one-way process, Barker argued that ideorogy the treatment of crime, illness and deviancy have forms a 'dialogue' between text and reader (see been dealt with over time, influencing the way definirions Chapter 2). such as'sane' and'insane' and even .good, and,evil, The problems associared with ideology and the have been historically constructed (see Foucault, shift in the political climate generally towards the 1984).As Danaher et al. putit (2000:6): right (Thatcherism in Britain, Reaganism in the US and the general decline in Communism, particularly Foucault was far more interested in, and receptive the collapse of the BerlinWall in 19g9) may to, partly work, which, instead of trying to understand explain the unpopularity of ideological analysis the after 'one and only' truth of things, tried to ,historicise, the mid-1980s. In particular, the healy attention of the dilGrent kinds of rrurh, knowledge, rationaliry Marxist theory on social class was now regarded as a and reason that had developed in cultures.
    • 51 D e c oding T ele vtston per- banal and apolitical without its insightful critical For many critics, then, the problems associated by the spective (see Morris, 1990)' with earlier notions of ideology are eased treat ide- flexibility of discourse theory that does not ever present and FEMINIST TELEVISION CRITICISM IDEOLOGY AND ology as completely dominant, as - A BRIEF OVERVIEW timeless. Not every text is driven as ideologically influ- not even Notionsof ideology discourse clearly and have every other and sometimes ideology may investi- enced a great deal ofTelevision Studies'The be the best way to approach a particular programme to gation of class, race and gender have particularly or genre at all. However, it would be misleading social ideo- benefi.ted from the systematic analysis of suggest that discourse theory entirely replaces of identity that is still an stereoq4)es and constructed forms fogi.A ana$sis, for many critics ideology for just not the such approaches have to offer' However, simply important aspect of discourse analysis, Media the purpose of this section I will concentrate on only one. As Norman Fairclough puts it in small (7995:47): feminist critiques of television, to provide a Discourse issues case study by which I can illustrate how these have specifically influenced at least one area of tex- My view is that media discourse should be regard- as contradictory tual and cultural debate within Television Studies ed as the site of complex and including ideological processes'Ideology a whole. processes, Feminist interpretations of the media began rn should not be seen as a constant and predictable 'second- earnest during a period now known as presence in all media discourse by definition' wave feminism'. While 'first-wave feminism' is Rather, it should be a working principle that the femi- is generally identified with the early origins of question of what ideological work is being done the nism (particularly Emmeline Pankhurst and one of a number of questions which analystsshould Suffragette movement), second-wave (or'radical') always be ready to ask of any media discourse' to be vari- feminism grew up alongside the political movements though they should expect the answers move- salient of the 1960s such as the Black Civil Rights able. Ideology may, for example, be a more dis- ment, the New Left student activism and the Anri- issue for some instances and types of media femi- Vietnam'War protests. Like these movements' course than for others' nism (or'the women's movement') was politically motivated, identified with women's groups''con- As Fairclough's comments imply' it would cer- ideol- sciousness-raising', campaigns for women's health tainly be premature to announce the death of general and childcare, demonstrations against pornography ogy in Television Studies completely' Most of and so on. In terms of the media's representation introductions to the subject (see Abercrombie women there was clearly much debate' some of and Lealand and Martin 11996l, McQueen [1998] defining and explaining the which frequently turned into direct action' In 1970' iZOOrll still spend time problems for example, 100 representatives from the National approach while also making clear what the of Organisation ofW'omen (NOVD in the US occupied b" with it. It clearly remains a useful way -"y televi- the premises of one of America's leading magazines' uncovering the implicitly 'political' nature of female editor' social demanding the appointment of a sion and particularly the means by which the small childcare for employees and the publicacion of a identities are reflected and articulated by even primary 'liberated issue'. screen. It is no longer the only or add Rather than perceiving a person's sex as biologi- method of textual analysis but it does frequently cally determined (i.e. 'God given'), second-wave insight and depth to other forms of methodological by that feminism was interested in uncovering the means interpretation. Some critics have even argued field' which gender was culturally and ideologically con- ideol,ogy provides the theoretical 'teeth' of the than toothless' structed. Indeed, using the word'gender'rather an areaof study that risks simply becoming
    • Tele-Visions subject : object 'sex'can be seen as an attempt to foreground the cul- penis : vagina urral rather than biological construction of female firm : soft and male behaviour.Translated into English in 1953' de Beauvoir's The Simone sky : earth the French ferninist, day : night Seconil Sex (1949) was particularly influential in this air : water project. According to de Beauvoir, men and women form : mafier have been culturally differentiated in terms of 'first' transcendence : inurement and'second'gender, a notion that clearly sets up gen- culture : nature der in terms of a'binary opposition'' In patriarchy, logos : pathos men are clearly'The First Sex'because masculiniry embodies everything defined as culturallyposititte and Second-wave feminism clearly saw the media as normal.In contrast, women are stereotyped as 'The Second Sex'because femininity tends to be associat- playing rlarge role in the gendered construction of ed with the negatiueand the abnormal' Seen in this these binary oppositions' Books such as Betty light, a woman'is not regarded as an autonomous Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) accused the being . . . She is defined as differentiated with refer- media of simply emphasising the ideological role of ence to man . . . He is the Subject, he is the Absolute woman as 'the happy housewife', defined only in relation to men, the home and family' Gaye - she is the Other' (1988: 16). This concept of the'Other'is one that is impor- Tuchman's edited book Hearth and Home: Images of tant to Cultural/Media Studies as a whole, revealing Women in the Mass Media (1'978) came to similar con- how certain groups in society are culturally con- clusions, her own article entitled 'The Symbolic 'Women by the Mass Media'' Like structed around notions of 'normality' and 'abnor- Annihilation of mality'.In terms of gender, the list of binary opposi- Friedan, Tuchman relied heavily on content analysis tions below reveal how feminists traditionally argued (see Chapter 2), argoing that women on television that 'masculinity' is frequently connected with the were markedly under-represented, men tended to primary or suyteriorvalue while 'femininity' is more dominate progralru'nes,men were representedpursuing commonly associated with a secondary ot inferior careers, women did not appear in the same profes- opposition (C. Nelson, cited by Fiske [1987]:203): sions as men, and women were shown as inef[ectual (not as competent as their male counterparts)' As MascwrNE : FnurNtr.rn Helen H. Franrwa Put it (1978:273-4): active : passive : absence . . . televised images of women in large measure are Presence validated : excluded false,portraying them less as they really are, more as success : failure some might want them to be. . . .Television women superior : inferior are predominantly in their twenties . . ' portrayed primary : secondary primarily as housewives . . . restricted primarily to independent : dependent stereotyPed positions such as nurses and secretaries unity : multiplicity . . . portrayed as weak, vulnerable, dependent, sub- organized : scattered missive and frequently, as sex objects' intellect : imagination Such notions of ideology *... reflected in logical : illogical "l,o defined : undefined film and cultural theory of the 1970s, particularly of dq>endable : capricious the kind most closely associatedwith the British cin- h€ad : heart ema journal Sueen.First published in Screen t9T5' in Laura Mulvey's 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative mind : body
    • Dec oding Televlslon z ., .:, t:.:..1 .:.,: as passrve Star'Ilek:women onTV have traditionally been portrayed this light' ali mem- in feminist and accordingly' (1975:19)' Seen in Cinema' was certainly influential of their gender) are period and beyond' bers of the audience (regardless media theory during this ideology' of the refer to notlons powerless to resist the 'domi'nant Although Mulvey did not explicitly heavily on psychoana- male gaze. of ideoiogy (she relies more such traditional notions of ideology H"o*.rr.r, her conclusions do. sti'll iy,r. ,to,iln, of subjectivity) by books such as 'male gaze' - were increasingly challenged rely on the notion of a dominant ^ and Margaret Marshment's Tlle Lorraine Gamman form of ideology' that all members of the audience qi PoPular Culure entering the cinema' In Fentale Gaze: Wortmt as l'iett'ers seemingiy b.ty i'-tto when clearil detect the influence in patriarchal socieq' (1988) in rl'hich vou can particular, Mulvey argued that on-Mulr-ev's concep- the crnematrc gaze of Gramsci. Erplicitlr dras-ing Larculine desire had constructed that women are reflects the structure of tron of the 'ma1e gaze" thev argued in such a way that it srmply structures and a world ordered not aiwavs dominated bv patriarchal the domi.nant male unconscious''In the female gaze cafi that thele are means bv rvhich iy r.*o"t imbalance', she argues"pleasurein.looking forms of repre- active/male and actuall-v infiltrate and resisrdominant fr", been split between the female cop gaze pro;ects sentations. For example, discussing passive/female.The determining male (CBS' 1981-8)' Gamman figure which is styled show Cagney and Lacey it, phantasy on to the female
    • Tel e-V i si ons argued that it offered great scope for'fernale spec- This approach in Television Studies can now tatorship', far beyond the limited restrictions of the clearly be seenasheralding the arrival of what some male gaze (1988). critics have contentiously called'third-wave ferni- Such critiques also brought a greater interest in nism' (sometimes confusingly known as 'post- women's genres (particularly soap opera fsee feminism'). Rather than viewing television simply Brunsdon, 2000]) and in the possibility that they as an instrument of the dominant ideology, third- could actually offer up avenues of resistance to wave feminist critiques of the media attempt to more dominant modes of ideology. Books such as recognisethe complex meansby which female rep- Ien Ang's Watching Dallas: Soap Opera and the resentation both constructedand actiuely is consumed Melodratnatic Imagination (1985), Mary Ellen Brown's by its audience.Refusing to regard ideology as uni- Tblevision and Woman's Culture (1990), Christine vocal or total, this approachtends to conceive gen- Geraghty's Women and Soap Opera (1991), Andrea der aspart ofan ongoing process which subjects by P ress'sWomenWatchingTblevision(199 I),Lynn Spigel's are constituted, and conceiving identiry as increas- Make RoomforTV (1992),Ann Gray's Video Playtime ingly fragmented and dynamic. Influenced by post- (1992) and Julie D'Accit Defining Women: Tblevision structuralistnotions of subjectivity (seeChapter 2), it and the CweJor Cagney andLacey (L993) aX, attempt- definesgender as a discoursethat, by definition, can ed to re-investigate the complex (and frequently break away from rigid binary oppositions active) relationship berween women and the small (active,/male,passive/female) become a site ofper- to screen (see Brunsdon et al., 1997). As Mary Ellen formance, resistance, style and desire. Liesbet van As Brown put it in Soap Opera and Women's Thlk: The Zoonen puts it (1994:34): (1994:2): Plewure oJResistance A poststructuralistnotion of discourse a site of as It can be said that soap operas in some way give contestation implies that the disciplinarypower of women their voice. The constant, active, playful dis- discourse,prescribingand restrictingidentitiesand cussions about soap opera open up possibilities for experiences, alwaysbe resistedand subverted. can us to understand how social groups can take a some- Dominant male discoursecan therefore never be what ambiguous television text and incorporate it completelyoverpowering, sinceby definition there into existing gossip networks that provide oudets for will be resistance struggle. and a kind of politics in which subordinated groups can be validatedand heard. You can certainly detect this kind ofcritique in more contemporary readings of television pro- Perhaps one of the most often quoted examples grarrmes such as AbsolutelyFabulous(BBC, 1989- of this sort of criticism in Television Studies can be [see Kirkham and Skeggs,1998]), Bffi the Vampire found inJohn Fiske's TblevisionCulture (1987). Here Slayerril/B,1997-200f , UPN, 2001-3 [see'Wilcox Fiske argued against traditional readings ofMadonnat and Lavery 20021) and Sex and the City (HBO, music videos that regarded them simply as pandering 79981004 fseeAkass and McCabe, 2004]). Here to patriarchal tastesby continuing the sexual objecti- there is much discussionof the means with which fication of women. For Fiske, Madonna was actually certain television texts (and their audience$ play taking on patriarchy by parodying traditional notions around with, subvert,ridicule, investigate,resistand of femininiry using her body and sexuality as a signi- even transcend tradirional male'(heterosexual)ide- fier of resistance. Fiske concludes that Madonna ologies.Asthis suggests, contemporary approaches to videos are a 'site of semiotic struggle between the television hope to add complexity to the whole forces of patriarchy and feminine resistance,of capi- notion by which genderedideology is produced and t^lism and the subordinate, the young and the old' consumedrather than simply erase power and sig- its (1987 : 39;see also Kaplan, 1,987 and Kaplan, 1992). nificance altogether.It is not a complete break from
    • D e c o ding Te levisio n Such a view suggeststhat it would be a grave error if the notion of ideology (however it is theo- retically conceptualised) were allowed to disappear from Television Studies completehi The changing notions of ideoiogy and discourse have certainly been a pivotal tool through rvhichTelevision Studies has grown and deveioped since the rvritings of the Frankfurt School. To clearly appreciate and under- stand this is to understand a great deal about the sub- ject as a whole. READING FURTHER London: Batsford. Cormack, Mike (1992),Ideology, Gitlin,Todd (1994),'Prime Time Ideology:The Hegemonic Process TelevisionEntertainment', in in Horace Newcomb (ed.), Tbleuision: Critical The Zep, NewYork and Oxford: Oxford Universiq. Press. Miller,Toby (ed.) (2002),Tbleuision London: BFI. Srudles, Mumford, Laura Stempel (1995),Llsueand ldeology in theAJternoon Soap Opera,Womenand Teleuision : Sexand the City: an example of third-wave feminism? Genre,Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana I Tnirrercil-r Precs _ -" " ' - ___ ' -^ " _ ' J ^ the past (and the term'post-feminism'certainly does Michael (1990) 'Box Pop: Popular O'Shaughnessy, not me n that feminism is over) but a re-articulation Television and Hegemony', in Andrew Goodwin of the theoretical terms upon which traditional and Garry Whannel (ed$, Understanding Tblevision, notions ofgender and ideology were once based.As London and NewYork: Routledge. Elspeth Probyn p:utsit (1997:.1.37): Wayne, Mike (2003), Marxism and Media Studies:Key Tiends, and Contemporary Concepts London: Pluto far from initiating a break from feminism, I think Press. that the current discursive landscape is a condition Vhite, Mimi (1992),'IdeologicalAnalysisand of possibility for generations of Gminist analysis. Television'in Robert C.Allen (ed.), Channekof And in the midst of the reborn family and the refur- Discourse, London and NewYork: Reassembled, bished home, it is more important than ever that we Routledge. make the personalpolitical and theoretical. Zoonen, Liesbet van (1994), Feminist Media Studies, London and New Delhi: Sage.