SECTION A: THEORETICAL EVALUATION OF
Question 1(b) requires you to select one production either the AS production, the
A2 main task, or any of the two ancillary tasks, 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
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.
Dont 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.”
QUESTIONS TO HELP
How useful is the concept of genre in understanding your work?
How can genre be used to understand music videos, and how is this different to
genre and (thriller) films?
How is your work intertextual? How does it fit in with other music videos?
How is your production conventional of the genre?
Why is genre useful to you as a media producer/ useful to audiences?
Genre theorists you have quotes from: Gunther Kress, Denis McQuail, Nicholas
Abercrombie, Christine Gledhill, Katie Wales, John Fiske. Jacques Derrida:
“A text cannot belong to no genre, it cannot be without… a genre. Every text
participates in one or several genres, there is no genreless text.”
How could you use the theories to discuss genre and understand your
What would Andrew Goodwin say about your work in terms of genre?
Genres change and evolve (see Christian Metz and David Buckingham). How is
your production using/ developing the genre?
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”
QUESTIONS TO HELP
How useful is the concept of narrative in understanding your work?
How is narrative and music videos different to narrative and film?
How is your narrative structured? (convergent/ parallel/ circular/ linear/
non-linear/ interweaving/ fragmented/ impressionist…?) How did you
What pleasure(s) does your narrative offer the audience?
How do you use characters in your narrative? How have you used
protagonists/ antagonists? Is Vladimir Propp useful to understand your
Some theorists and theories you may be able to apply: Story versus plot;
Tzetvan Todorov (equilibrium etc); Claude Levi-Strauss (binary
opposition); Roland Barthes (Enigma code; Action code. Also, Open
and Closed texts); Pam Cook; Noam Chomsky (narrative is fundamental
to human understanding)
How does the narrative structure/ ending shape the meaning of your
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.
QUESTIONS TO HELP
How does your video represent different social groups/ people/ places/
lifestyles? What values/ ideologies are you representing/ promoting?
Does your production create a hegemonic representation/ does it represent
and reinforce the dominant ideology?
What positive/ negative/ stereotypical connotations and representations are
you constructing/ using/ challenging?
How are the representations in your production the products of your own
cultural experience/ background/ ideology/ values?
What would Laura Mulvey say about your production?
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.”
QUESTIONS TO ASK
How useful is the concept of audience in understanding your work?
Who is your target audience? How did you develop your target audience?
How does your production appeal to your target audience?
How useful are various segmentation models to describe your target
audience? Demographics? Psychographics? Findyourtribe?
Consider theorists and theories such as: Stuart Hall: Encoding and
Decoding; Preferred/ negotiated/ oppositional readings; Denis McQuail
– (Uses and Gratification theory); Ien Ang - “Audiencehood is becoming
an even more multifaceted, fragmented and diversified repertoire of
practices and experiences.”; Hypodermic Needle Theory
Any of the theorists from the previous slides!!
QUESTIONS TO ASK
„Media language‟ means the language of the medium you are working
within. For example, there is a language of film which is different to the
language of music video/ television drama etc. This is different to
genre: genre can cut across media (e.g. a sci-fi film/ TV programme/
music video (!)).
How are you using the language of the medium?
How have you used the language of music videos/ film openings/ digipaks/
What would Andrew Goodwin say about your music video