Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Media Revision Notes

Key thinkers:

1) Fiske - Quiz shows
2) Bordieu - Cultural capital, education system
3) Saussure - Semiotics, language as a system (sign, signifier, signified) langue, parole
4) Pierce - Iconic and indexical
5) Barthes - Myth, culture as a system, denotation / connotation, myth in wrestling
6) Propp - Narrative in westerns
7) Wright - Narrative in Westerns
8) Eco - Narrative in Bond novels
9) Herman and Chomsky - The ruling class control the media and its effects
10) McCombs and Shaw - Agenda setting

Agenda Setting:
* A version of the media effects theory
* The media define the "issues" and their level of importance
* The way in which the news is framed helps construct the preferred meaning

Mass culture:
* Standardised and formulaic, "tends to simplify the real world and gloss over its problem" Mass culture is popular culture produced by mass production. Marketed for a profit to a mass public of consumers.
* "Standardised, formulaic and repetitive products of mass culture are then sold to a passive audience, prone to manipulation by mass media"

What was the 'Golden Age'? It was a time in which authentic folk culture and a truly great high culture knew their places in an ordered world. The 'Golden Age' is very difficult to pinpoint geographically and historically.

Uses and gratifications - This theory holds that audiences are responsible for choosing media to meet their needs. The approach suggests people use the media to fulfill specific gratifications. e.g. Surveillance of environment, correlation of parts of society, entertainment.

Encoding / Decoding - Encoding is the process of constructing a sequence, decoding is the process of converting an encoded sequence back into its original form.

The media encode, audiences decode.

Fiske capitalist / class specific ideologies are embedded in quiz shows. He recognises distinction:

Games - Start equal, finish differential
Rituals - Start differential, finish equal

* Cultural capital, not money underwrites stratification
* Pretence of the role of the education system - promoting natural talent of individuals
* Education system promotes middle class values, particularly through myth

Semiotics - "The study of signs and symbols, especially as means of language or communication"

Saussure saw language as a system:
Sign = Results from the association of the signifier with the signified
Signifier = The form of which the sign takes
Signified = The concept it represents

Langue and parole are Saussure's descriptions of language as a system:
* Langue is the whole system of language that makes speech possible
* Parole is the concrete use of the language, the actual utterances. It is the usage of the system, not the system itself.

Iconic and Indexical signs - Pierce:

Iconic - The signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified
Indexical - Signifier directly connected in some way to the signified e.g. smoke and fire

Paradigm - The list of possible signs from which particular signs are selected and connected together to make syntagms. Coke adverts - Paradigms for age, nationality, gender etc.

According to Barthes, myth is a second-order semiological system. Myths are created when codes are naturalised. (Codes which are taken for granted and seen as not codes but as 'natural') Myths are also forms of popular culture.

Culture as a system - Barthes - Dennotation and connotation - According to Barthes, wrestling creates myth.

Below are a list of some of the key terms that we've looked at since beginning the media course:

* Dennotation - An object / image / sign
* Connotation - Shows what the dennotation means / shows / implys
* Diachronic - Change over time. The way in which something can change or shift
* Synchronic - A snapshot in time
* Iconic - Instantly recognisable and automatically associated with something else
* Syntagm / syntagmatic - A list of possible signs, which generate meaning
* Paradigm / paradigmatic - The way in which structure can be altered and give a different meaning
* Fabula - The fabula is the pattern that film spectators create through assumptions and inferences
* Syuzhet - This is the actual arrangement and presentation of the fabula in the film

What is narrative?
* A communicative act
* "Teller and listener"
* Involves sequence of events
* All narratives are constructed

Propp studied narrative in folk tales. Suggested that, although folk tales might have differences in plot, character and setting, they would share common structural features.

Wright looked at the narrative structure in Westerns

Eco focused on the work of a single authir - deriving a basic narrative scheme in relation to the James Bond novels

Stability - Disruption - Enigma - Resolution  /  Equalibrium - Disequalibrium - Equalibrium

Genre was orignally developed in relation to film. Means 'type' or 'kind'. A system of classification. Widely understood and used form of analysis. It's a signifying system, a paradigm.

[Polysemic = Multiple meanings]

Herman and Chompsky says that there is a ruling class that controls the media and its effects.

Hegemony - The dominance or leadership of one social group or nation over others. The media, for example, is a hegemonic force.

In terms of power, it's divided into 'hard' and 'soft':
Hard power = Control of capital, militancy, legal systems

Soft power = Symbols, discourses, etc.

Case example of media power - Murdoch's hegemonic prescence.

McCombs and Shaw - Agenda setting, "An audience member exposed to a given media agenda adjusts his or her perception of the importance of issues in the direction corresponsing to the amount of attention devoted to those issues in the medium used"

New media and regulation: OFCOM regulates the BBC.

The internet saved us! This new media challenged the corporate ownership of the press. Government censorship does not work with the net. What are the changes from old media?

* Ability to produce content
* Ability to communicate

Chicago School model consists of: Law, markets, architecture

Law - Regulates us, punishes us if we don't obey
Markets - Through avaliability and price a product is made avaliable to produce or consume. Independant of laws / social norms but dependant on them for its ability to function.
Architecture - Forms of constraints that prevent us from doing something. There are preventive measures, constraints pre action.


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