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FISKE
TELEVISION CULTURE
Chapter 9 – Reading Character
“television is centrally
concerned with the
representation of peopl...
Overview of Theory
– Representation in TV drama is different to that in Film and News
due to the formal conventions of TV ...
Idea 1
TV audiences have unique relationships with the
representation of characters compared to other Media forms
due to t...
Idea 2
“The representation of characters in TV drama is a complex form of
representation” for it is constructed by:
– the ...
Idea 2 model
Stereotypical
individual
characteristics
of represented
character
Social values &
ideology
embedded in
repres...
Idea 3
TV audiences are invited to see characters as ‘real’.
Individual characters are given some stereotypical
characteri...
Idea 4
Characters in TV drama are read as individuals but also the representation of social
positions and the values embod...
Idea 5
Any viewer may find in her / himself a number
of points of relationship with the personal /
social and ideological ...
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Fiske: Television Culture.

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These slides cover the four main ideas of Fiske's theory that we've looked at through studying The Inbetweeners.

Published in: Education
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Fiske: Television Culture.

  1. 1. FISKE TELEVISION CULTURE Chapter 9 – Reading Character “television is centrally concerned with the representation of people”
  2. 2. 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?
  3. 3. Idea 1 TV audiences have unique relationships with the representation of characters compared to other Media forms due to the structure of TV series, stylistic conventions and developed 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.”
  4. 4. Idea 2 “The representation of characters in TV drama is a complex form of representation” 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 boundary between the representation and the real and the ideological relationship 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
  5. 5. Idea 2 model Stereotypical individual characteristics of represented character Social values & ideology embedded in representation of the character Constructed Representation by the writers & producers Physical appearance of actor playing the character Audience Readings of Representation THE CHARACTER
  6. 6. Idea 3 TV audiences are invited to see characters as ‘real’. Individual characters are given some stereotypical characteristics, they may be like someone we know or have known and we gain pleasure from seeing how they experience 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”
  7. 7. Idea 4 Characters in TV drama are read as individuals but also the representation of social positions and the values embodied in them. Audiences are made up of different people with different viewpoints so how they read a representation of young people will depend on their own experience of young people. “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”
  8. 8. Idea 5 Any viewer may find in her / himself a number of points of relationship with the personal / social and ideological values seen in any character: “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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