Narrative theory


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Narrative theory

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