SECTION A: THEORETICAL EVALUATION OF
Question 1(b) requires you to select one production and evaluate it in relation to a
The list of concepts to which questions will relate is as follows: Genre
IN THE EXAMINATION, QUESTIONS WILL BE SET USING ONE
OF THESE CONCEPTS ONLY.
In some circumstances, you will be expected to select the production that
appears to relate most effectively to the specific concept that arises in the
question. However, the requirement for candidates to evaluate one of
productions in relation to a concept does not assume that the concept
necessarily always fit easily and in an orthodox way. Thus in some cases
will be describing their productions in terms of them not relating
to the concept.
Whether you applied the concept to
the product or use the production to
challenge the concept, it is essential that
you are sufficiently knowledgeable
about the concept for either approach.
You may choose to write about work
undertaken at AS or A2, main task or
SECTION A: THEORETICAL EVALUATION OF
For Question 1(b) you will have to choose one of their productions, either the AS
the A2 main task, or any of the two ancillary tasks.
The question will focus on only one of the
You do NOT need to:
Learn a load of quotes
Explain their theories in great depth
Know them all
You DO need to:
Use a few
Be able to apply them to your work/ case studies
Consider how useful/ not useful they are when
discussing your work/ case studies
HOW TO USE THEORISTS
Assume your reader knows about the theory/ theorist.
Don‟t explain the theory; use it.
A Todorovian analysis would argue…
Mulvey‟s notion of the Male Gaze provides a useful way of understanding
the video in that…
Kate Wales statement that “Genre is... an intertextual concept” could be
useful here because…
What genre is the production?
What are the codes and conventions of the production?
How is the genre established in the candidates production?
How does the mise-en-scène support the genre? What is the role of the specific
elements of the mise-en-scène? Refer to props, costume, makeup, location,
What themes have been used?
Have generic conventions been adhered to or subverted?
How will the generic elements of production appeal to the audience?
GENRE THEORISTS YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO USE
Gunther Kress Genre is “a kind of text that derives its form from the
structure of a (frequently repeated) social occasion, with its
characteristic participants and their purposes.”
Denis McQuail “The genre may be considered as a practical device for
helping any mass medium to produce consistently and efficiently
and to relate its production to the expectations of its customers.”
Nicholas Abercrombie “Television producers set out to exploit genre
conventions... It... makes sound economic sense. Sets, properties
and costumes can be used over and over again. Teams of stars,
writers, directors and technicians can be built up, giving economies
Christine Gledhill “Differences between genres meant different audiences
could be identified and catered to... This made it easier to
standardise and stabilise production”
MORE GENRE - THEORISTS FOR POSSIBLE USE
Katie Wales “Genre is... an intertextual concept”
John Fiske “A representation of a car chase only makes sense in relation to
all the others we have seen - after all, we are unlikely to have
experienced one in reality, and if we did, we would, according to this
model, make sense of it by turning it into another text, which we
would also understand intertextually, in terms of what we have seen
so often on our screens. There is then a cultural knowledge of the
concept 'car chase' that any one text is a prospectus for, and that it
used by the viewer to decode it, and by the producer to encode it.”
Genres change and evolve:
Christian Metz - Stages of genres: Experimental/ Classic/ Parody/
David Buckingham - “Genre is not simply given by the culture, rather, it is in a
constant process of negotiation and change.”
What is the narrative structure of the product?
How do the specific elements of the production relate to the narrative structure?
Does the production adhere to, or subvert, narrative conventions?
How does the narrative support the establishment of the chosen genre of the
How have narrative techniques been used to appeal to the audience?
Refer to Todorov, Propp, Levi-Strauss, Barthes‟ Enigma Code, multi-strand,
restricted, unrestricted, non-linear etc.
NARRATIVE THEORISTS – POSSIBLE USE
Tzetvan Todorov – Argues that narratives always have a structure of
Equilibrium/ Disequilibrium/ New equilibrium
Story versus plot
Claude Levi-Strauss – Argues that human cultural understanding is based
upon a system of binary oppposites (good/ bad; black/ white; male/
female…). Narratologists have taken this theory and applied it to
narrative, arguing that binary opposition forms a fundamental way of
Roland Barthes: Enigma code; Action code. Also, Open and Closed texts.
Vladimir Propp – argued that narratives always have certain character types
who perform certain actions. Characters are agents of action.
Pam Cook argues that the Hollywood narrative structure includes: “linearity
of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution”
and “a high degree of narrative closure”
Representation theory – Dyer, Mulvey, Perkins etc.
Identify characters, events or issues within the production to discuss.
What representational concepts are highlighted? (i.e. race, gender, cultural
What representations have been generated?
Discuss the specific elements of character representation, i.e. modes of address,
facial expression, costume, behaviour etc.
Have any stereotypical representations been generated?
Does the production conform to, or subvert, any dominant ideologies?
Laura Mulvey – argues that cinema
positions the audience as male. The
camera gazes at the female object on
screen. It also frames the male character
watching the female.
We watch the girl; we see the male watching the girl;
we position ourselves within the text as a male
objectively gazing at the female.
Can be applied to other media forms also.
Hegemony (dominant ideology)
MORE REPRESENTATION THEORISTS
David Gauntlett – “Identities are not „given‟ but are constructed and
negotiated” See later slide for more
Jacques Lacan - The mirror stage
Michel Maffesoli - “The Time of Tribes
Mikhail Bakhtin - “the unfinalised self” individual people cannot be
finalised, completely understood, known, or labelled. Many icons of the
postmodern age change and adapt their identity and consequently can
be seen in these terms: Lady Gaga, Madonna and Marilyn Manson are
Judith Butler - Gender is what you do, not what you are.
MAGAZINE AND GENDER THEORISTS
“The cult of femininity”; “consciously cultivated female bond”
“a kind of false sisterhood that assumes a common definition of
womanhood or girlhood”
“The gaze between cover model and women readers marks the
complicity between women seeing themselves in the image masculine
culture has defined.”
“a magazine is like a club. Its first function is to provide readers with a
comfortable sense of community and pride in their identity”
“Female models addressed to women… appear to imply a male point
"These [male] magazines are all about the social construction of
masculinity. That is, if you like, their subject-matter."
Stuart Hall: Encoding and Decoding; Preferred/ negotiated/ oppositional
Denis McQuail – Uses and Gratification theory (audiences consume media
texts for Suveillance; Personal Identity; Presnal Relationships;
Ien Ang - “Audiencehood is becoming an even more multifaceted,
fragmented and diversified repertoire of practices and experiences.”
Any of the theorists from the previous slides!!