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Media theory: Structural theory AO1: knowledge and understanding of media concepts, contexts and critical debates AO4: demonstrate the ability to undertake, apply and present appropriate research Semiotics Semiotics is the study of codes or languages and the signs from which they are made, such as: Words Written Physical (nodding) Clothes – sign/signifier – signified viewer Semiotics and the main men... Semiotics & Saussure (1983) Suggests there are three levels that we READ media texts: 1. Syntactical level (basic denotations) 2. Representational (conveyed in text) 3. Symbolic (hidden cultural or symbolic meanings) Denotations Connotations Semiotics & Barthes (1967) Development of Saussure’s idea to analyse the media in relation to culture. He suggests that our understanding of many media texts rests not on just what the text portrays but on the texts’ relationship to frequently told stories or myths in our culture. Many media texts convey or tap into popular myths. Barthes & Cinderella! Romantic Comedy = Cinderella myth Girl (poor/oppressed/bored) Rescued from her miserable life (or poverty) by the love of a rich, handsome man. Cultural meaning of Cinderella = ideologies (cultural meaning) conveyed are that men are active and women are passive, that men are economically powerful providers and a woman’s key role is to be sexually alluring. Semiotics & Fiske (1982) Warns that there is a tendency to read connotations as if they were self-evident truths – as if they were denotations. HOWEVER – connotations are codes that are particular to specific cultures. As a result audiences in different cultures may interpret media texts different. Some media texts attempt to limit the interpretations of media texts E.G. Newspapers – photographs anchored by captions. Understanding signs There are many different types of signs, but each has two parts: 1. The signifier 2. The signified An iconic sign has a signifier that bears a close relationship to the object being signified. E.G. A photograph of a person has a close relationship to the person whom it signifies. An indexical sign assumes a relationship between the signifier and the signified, so that when we see one, we expect the other. E.G. Smoke signifies fire A symbolic sign has no obvious relationship between the signifier and the signified. E.G. Red for hot on a tap, blue for a boy, a dove for peace A grade: Confident and insightful analysis and evaluation demonstrating sophisticated knowledge and understanding of differing media representations, key concepts and wider context. Writing will be well structured, articulate and engaged. B grade: Proficient analysis and evaluation, demonstrating good knowledge and understanding of differing media representations, key concepts and wider concepts. Writing is well written and clearly expressed. C grade: Sound analysis and evaluation demonstrating adequate knowledge and understanding of differing media representations, with reference to key concepts and wider contexts. Writing is reasonably well written. D grade: Satisfactory analysis and evaluation demonstrating some adequate knowledge and understanding of differing media representations, with basic reference to key concepts and wider contexts. Writing will be satisfactory and poorly structured. E grade: Basic analysis demonstrating some knowledge and understanding of media representations. Little or no reference to key concepts and wider contexts. Meaning may be obscured by weakness in written communication.
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