MS1 ideological theories

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MS1 ideological theories

  1. 1. Unit MS1 Media Representations & Responses Theoretical models & theories Key Concepts False consciousness: a Marxist term to describe the way that the ruling classes in society keep everyone else in a position of subservience by hiding the true nature of their existence. This is done through the way dominant ideology suggests the ‘norm’ or accepted way things should be. For example – women have been lulled into a state of ‘false consciousness’ because society (dominant ideology) through the representation of women on TV, in films and in magazines encourages women to conform to stereotypes about how they should look and behave. Some critics have called this the ‘cult of femininity’, as it suggests there is a very narrowly defined ‘ideal’ of what femininity is. The same arguments could be applied to masculinity, the acceptable lifestyle we lead, etc. Q: How might use be made of Marx’s ideas by looking at the way representation is handled in magazines, ads or film posters about gender, income, wealth, consumer goods, fashion, etc? False needs: A group of intellectuals & academics called the Frankfurt School developed some of Marx’s ideas for the media age. Writing in the 1940s, they witnessed the explosion of mass TV & radio advertising in the US & Europe after WW2 and coined the term ‘false needs’. This term describes the way advertisers create a need in us to purchase a product that would otherwise not exist i.e. we do not really need the product but think we
  2. 2. do. Advertising techniques, such as ‘emotional promise’ and the extent to which advertisers try to touch our deepest psychological feelings based on envy, fear of rejection, aspirations, hopes, desires and fantasies tend to support this argument. Q: By analysing some media images, how could you directly apply the ideas of the Frankfurt School and false needs? Provide examples. Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs: A psychologist, Maslow argued that humans are motivated by a number of ‘needs’ and these are ordered according to priority. These have often been represented as a pyramid Maslow’s arguments do not specifically relate to the media or magazines but they are a useful contribution to how we might identify a real ‘need’ by audiences and individuals. They might also make useful comparison with McQuails Uses & Gratifications theory. Q: Can any of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs be related to aspects of lifestyle magazines. Find some examples from your chosen texts and try to apply them to Maslow? Physiological needs: food & water Physical needs: protection, security Belonging needs: friendship, affection Psychological needs: self-esteem, recognition, prestige Self-actualisation: cognitive growth, rich & varied experiences, sense of self
  3. 3. Uses & Gratifications theory: a theory recognising that audiences do not use media products in the same way, or indeed how the producer intended the text to be used at all. Q: Consider how magazines can be used in different ways from the purpose intended by the media producer?

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