What is Genre?Genre in the media industry is a way of categorising a particularmedia text according to its content and style. The word genrecomes from the French (and originally Latin) word for kind orclass. The term is widely used in many ways and is commonlyknown to refer to a distinctive type of text’.Wikipedia – “is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art orentertainment, e.g. music, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based onsome set of stylistic criteria”
What Genre theorists can youfind?Steve Neale Genres exist within the context of a set of economic relations andpractices, though he adds that genres are not the product of economic factors as such. Theconditions provided by the capitalist economy account neither for the existence of theparticular genres that have hitherto been produced, nor for the existence of the conventionsthat constitute them. Much of the pleasure of popular cinema lies in the process of “differencein repetition” – i.e. recognition of familiar elements and in the way those elements might beorchestrated in an unfamiliar fashion or in the way that unfamiliar elements might beintroduced. He also believes that pleasure is derived from repetition and difference, therewould be no pleasure without difference.Rick Altman in 1984 proposed a semantic/syntactic approach to film genre. His aim wasto ‘problematise’ the discussion of genre within film studies. He recognised that thedevelopment of film studies had seen a swing from ‘genre as history’ an approach which oftenused the film industries’ own terms to describe how genres changed over time to ‘genre as(semiotic) theory’ an approach which largely ignored industry practices. He also argues thatgenres are usually defined in terms of media language (SEMANTIC elements) and codes (inthe Western, for example: guns, horses, landscape, characters or even stars, like John Wayneor Clint Eastwood) or certain ideologies and narratives (SYNTACTIC elements).
What Genre theorists can youfind?Nick Lacey Repertoire of Elements; considers the repertoire of elements that work incombination to suggest a media text belongs to a particular genre or mix of genres. Heprovides a useful framework to follow when analysing genre. Lacey breaks a text down intothese five areas to identify the elements in each: Setting Character Narrative Iconography Style Lacey does not see genres as fixed but as dynamic and Nick Laceychanging over time.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.John Fiske A representation of a car chase only makes sense in relation to all the others wehave seen - after all, we are unlikely to have experienced one in reality, and if we did, wewould, according to this model, make sense of it by turning it into another text, which wewould 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 prospectusfor, and that it used by the viewer to decode it, and by the producer to encode it.
What Genre theorists can youfind?Jacques Derrida Repertoire Proposed that ‘a text cannot belong to no genre, it cannot bewithout a genre. Every text participates in one or several genre, there is no genreless text’(Derrida 1981, 61). This point helps to explain why commentators on September 11th couldonly understand what they were seeing as ‘like a movie’. This is perhaps what Fiske means bysaying ‘we make sense of it by turning it into another text.’Claude Levi-Strauss developed the concept of Bricolage; Levi-Strauss saw any text asconstructed out of socially recognisable ‘debris’ from other texts. He saw that writers constructtexts from other texts by a process of; Addition, Deletion, Substitution and Transposition.Gerard Genette developed the term ‘transtexuality’ and developed five sub-groups, but only4 apply to him: intertexuality quotation, plagiarism, allusion. Architextuality - designation ofthe text as part of a genre by the writer or by the audience. Metatextuality - explicit or implicitcritical commentary of one text on another text. Hypotextuality – the relation between a textand a proceeding hypotext – a text or genre on which it is based but which ittransforms, modifies, elaborates extends (including parody, spoof, pastiche, sequel, translation)
What Genre theorists can youfind?Alastair Fowler “Audiences learn genres gradually, usually through unconsciousfamiliarisation” (Alastair Fowler 1989: 215)John Corner ”Genre is a principal factor in the directing of audience choice and of audienceexpectations” (John Corner 1991: 2276)Daniel Chandler developed on “Familiarity with a genre enables viewers to generate feasiblepredictions about events in a narrative” (Daniel Chandler – an introduction to genre theory)Mark Reid stated that “Do we read genres as a noun or an adjective?” This critical questionoffers ‘tomato puree’ as an example, suggesting would happen to this item if we shelved in itanother part of the shop? Would the thing itself be any different? “How something is categorisedis determined by who does it, for whom, where and when. The same is true for films.” (Mark Reid2001: 1)Robert Hodge and Gunther Kress ‘Genres are typical forms of texts which link kinds ofproducer, consumer, topic, medium, manner and occasion. They control the behaviour ofproducers of such texts and the expectations of potential customers.’ (Hodge & Kress 1988: 7)
What Genre theorists link to theHorror genre?Steve Neale his theory links to the Horror genre as Steve Neale believes that there is alwaysrepetition and familiar elements are always recognised but every film in the same genre isdifferent and the familiar elements are displayed in an unfamiliar fashion. There, Neale’s theorylinks in to the genre through the fact of Horror films being the same (always a villain thatkills, an innocent victim injured or killed etc) just displayed and expressed in various differentways.Rick Altman ”genres are usually defined in terms of media language (SEMANTIC elements)and codes (in the Western, for example: guns, horses, landscape, characters or even stars, likeJohn Wayne or Clint Eastwood) or certain ideologies and narratives (SYNTACTIC elements)”this relates to the Horror genre as it would always have a murder weapon, killer suspect, victimetc.John Fiske his theory links to genre as it’s based on experience, what we are used to seeingand our own knowledge of the concept. Horror is always displayed how its experienced bypeople in the world. Relating to some murders, man slaughters and genocides that haveoccurred in reality, that people have experienced or investigated.