Genre theory quotes

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A2 Media Studies, Genre, theory quotes

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Genre theory quotes

  1. 1. Genre Theory Quotes
  2. 2. Quotes from media theorists  Richard Dyer – in 1973 argued that ‘genres are pleasurable because they offer escapist fantasies into fictional worlds that remove the boredom of reality’. He sees these worlds as Utopian that offer an abundance of energy, excitement and spontaneity.  Hartley – ‘Genres are agents of ideological closure; they limit the meaning potential of a given text’ – e.g. classic westerns expected roles of stock characters limits the unexpected developments of the narrative. Recently genres have been adapted to allow alternative representations – bad cowboys or gay cowboys.  Hodge and Kress – ‘genres are typical forms of texts which links producers, consumers, topic, medium, manner and occasion’. E.g. a Disney fairytale using computer generated imagery, released in multiplex’s and DVD and internet availability.
  3. 3.  Fowler – ‘one advantage of genres is that they can rely on readers already having knowledge and expectations about the works within a genre’. This means that producer do not have to explain the conventions of a text as audiences are already familiar.  Gledhill – ‘Genres can be seen as a kind of shorthand, increasing the efficiency of communication’. This means that because audiences already know what to expect within a genre, it is not necessary to explain all of the details to them, narratives can therefore be condensed.
  4. 4.  Allen – ‘Any text requires what is called ‘cultural capital’ on the part of its audience to make sense of it’. E.g. they bring their past experience of a genre to help them understand it.  Fiske – ‘the assignment of a text to a genre influences how the text is read’. E.g. if you believe a text to be in a certain genre you will interpret according to your expectations of that genre.(You expect the up and down relationships in Bridget Jones and don’t worry as you expect a happy ending).  He also said: ‘Genre constrains the possible ways in which a text is interpreted, guiding readers to a preferred reading’. Again in rom coms we don’t take behaviour seriously because we know that everything will turn out well.
  5. 5.  Knight – ‘Genre may offer various emotional pleasures such as empathy and escapism’. We enjoy imagining ourselves living the characters lives.  Neale – ‘Pleasure is derived from repetition and difference’. We like to feel secure with the familiarity of a genre but also like surprise.  Abercrombie – ‘We derive pleasure from observing how the conventions of a genre are manipulated’. Knowing what to expect makes us enjoy the unexpected.
  6. 6. Pastiche and parody in genre  A pastiche is a media text made up of pieces of other texts or an imitation of other styles  A parody is an imitation of one media text by another for comic effect – Scary movie and Shaun of the Dead  Pastiche can involve Homage – when one text deliberately imitates the characteristics of another in recognition of the texts importance. What lies beneath contains elements of homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho
  7. 7. Genre are liked by producers  Constructed for an known/guaranteed audience  Use repeated storylines and stock characters  Allow re-use of sets, props and actors – financial savings  They are tried and tested and provide an element of security for investors  Budget and financial return are easier to predict  They allow for clear product and audience differentiation and market segmentation
  8. 8. Why audiences like genre  Know what to expect  they can plan viewing with certain expectations  They enjoy subtle variations within a particular framework  They engage quickly with easily recognisable plots and     characters They enjoy predicting outcomes They can easily follow the narratives within genres, therefore requiring less attention They can experience a sense of cultural and emotional security Helps choosing the right text for entertainment
  9. 9. Are genres too predictable and unimaginative?  Genres try to avoid this because:  If they are audiences will decline and industries will lose money, genres have to adapt to reflect changes in social and cultural attitudes, values and expectations (horror and gangster genres)  Stale genres can be revived by being less predictable and more imaginative (The Western - Brokeback Mountain)
  10. 10.  Audiences seek familiarity and difference within genres and therefore welcome a degree of predictability. The loose conventions allow film makers to take short cuts by using stock characters and locations thus requiring little development  However, audiences want plot twists and hybrid developments to keep them interested  Today films are increasingly flexible and unpredictable with their mix of genres to appeal to a wider audience

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