Work scheme for theory and context teaching, summer term 2010

Week Theory
Exercises How to apply to your coursework evaluation Key concepts for the exam
Introduction Remember your theoretical evaluation of production will be examined in the form of a question (1a) on one or more of the following:
  • Digital technology
  • Creativity
  • Research and planning
  • Post-production
  • Using conventions from real media texts
But 1b will specifically refer to:
  • A – Audience
  • B – Narrative
  • C – Representation
  • D – Genre
  • E – Media Language

Which of your production pieces best fits each of these e.g. A will suit your music magazine, soap, website and posters; B will better suit the soap trailer; C again music magazine and trailer; D all of them and E all of them


Monday 19th April

Lessons 4 (SS) +1 no teacher


Lesson 1

Notes sheet on Audience. (2 sides)

1 Research into products

2 Memories

3 Clip of skins or Shameless or misfits (Adam has this) discuss audience pleasures.

4 Find out how many have made and uploaded product and how many have been involved in such products – why?

5 Read student notes

6 Make notes on Audience pleasures

1 Why are people going to buy your music magazine?

2 Why are they going to watch your soap trailer?

3 What are they going to get out of these in terms of pleasures? Be specific.

4 Have you had any hits on your soap on YouTube? Any comments?

Audience / genre

Which pleasures do audiences get out of your chosen texts?


Lesson 2


Notes sheet on Narrative and character

HW Class ex watch some agreed programme and survey attitudes and feelings about it

6 Read notes sheet on Narrative and Character

7 Watch episode of (?) and identify narrative stages

1 Who is going to be buying / watching your product / what are they bringing to them?

2 What narrative decisions did you make – think about time / information / codes of action and enigma

3 What kinds of decisions did you take about character in your soap trailer?

Collective identity

Lesson 3

Classwork individually – what kind of things are you going to write in your answers to these (opposite) for your chosen topic? These are the four prompt questions on Media and Collective identity:
  • How do contemporary media represent nations, regions and ethnic/social/collective groups of people in different ways?
  • How does contemporary representation compare to previous time periods? +

  • What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people?
  1. To what extent is human identity increasingly ‘mediated’?
Lesson 4


Continue above.

‘The modern representation by the media of a particular social group has changed a great deal over the past 100 years.’ Discuss


Monday 26th April

Lessons 1 (SS)


Notes sheet on Stereotyping and countertypes

1 Read the student notes

2 discuss Stereotypes and counter types find examples

1 What examples of stereotypes and counter types have you got in your products? Why did you put them in? Genre / representation

1 What are the representations of your chosen social group?

2 What codes and conventions are used to represent them?


In your text books read p 30-39 on writing about the production. Make sure you can relate the ideas here to

your own products – write your own mini answers


Monday 3rd May

Lessons 4 (SS) +1 no teacher


Notes sheet on postmodernism

Lesson 1 (1-3)



Lesson 2 (4)


Lesson 3 (5-6)

Lesson 4

see *1-5

1 Read notes on postmodernism

2 Discuss the different types involved in post-modernism write examples down

3 Hyper-reality – examples – what is New York like? what do you know of Jade Goody / Tiger Woods / Colonel Khadafi – how info gained?

4 Gavin and Stacey Case Study 1 – give grid with categories to be filled in with examples from the programme.

5 Role play on Marxism. (Footnote 9)

6 Discussion on effect of Hegemonic values on our own lives and values. (Footnote 10)

*1 How / to what extent does/ do your products use postmodernism?

*2 What examples of binary oppositions have you?

*3 What is the role of your chosen institutions in adhering to stereotypes or sanctioning countertypes? Are they slaves to bourgeois ideals? Capitalism?

*4 To what extent are you towing the hegemonic party line with your products (think soap: girl wants boy / teen pregnancy bad…)

*5 Which hegemonic values are you reinforcing are there any which you are challenging?

Media language

1 To what extent do your chosen texts reinforce hegemonic values?

Collective identity HW ESSAY

”The Media does not construct representations of identity merely reflects them.’


Monday 10th May

Lessons 1 (SS)

Anti-hegemonic representations

1 Little Miss Sunshine (Case study 2) opening sequence – do spidergram of hegemonic expectations of older people and little girls now see how different they are in this film.

1 Do you have any anti-hegemonic representations in any of your products?

1 Do any of your chosen texts offer anti-hegemonic representations?

2 What institutions have produced your chosen texts? Why them? What are their hegemonic ideals?

Collective identity HW ESSAY

‘Analyse the ways in which the media represent one group you have studied.’


Monday 17th May

Lessons 4 (SS) +1 no teacher

Hyper realism



Notes sheets on Marxism


Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema

Lesson 1 (1)

Lesson 2 Twi (2)

Lesson 3 (3+4)

Lesson 4 Twi (5)

1 Watch episode of Shameless- discussion about hegemonic values (See case study 3)

2 If time role play the two adverts – (footnote 14)

3 Angela Mc Robbie and Marjorie Ferguson then Laura Mulvey’s Male Gaze Theory – use Skins episode see case study 4.

4 Story board or film a woman to show how women are viewed by our society (see footnote 15.)

5 Mind map examples of changes in media due to historical events, social changes or law.

1 Do your texts make use of hyper reality?

2 Did you adhere to the male gaze theory in your use of the camera on your women? How?

3 What kind of contexts affected your products both in their making and in their acceptance?

Collective identity HW 1 Go on the website and look at the resources on Audience and on Narrative.


‘Looking at two media describe the ways in which a particular group of people are collectively represented using specific examples to support your answer.’


Monday 25th May

Lessons 1

Creativity See separate document. Apply creativity theory to your products.

Incorporating theory and context into media studies teaching

Audience: students should be able to write about passive and active audiences.


War of the Worlds broadcast 1938

Effects – audience passive and manipulated

Advertising (1)
3D films audiences visibly react to objects coming towards them

Cultivation theory: desensitising audiences due to repeated exposure e.g. violence, poverty (Dougal and the Blue Cat – Katie) (2)

James Halloran wrote it’s now ‘what people do with the media’ 1970 even more apt now!

Blumler and Katz Uses and Gratifications 1974 (3)

McQuail came later

Stuart Hall – encoding and decoding (The Long Engagement – film about soldiers in the first world war due to be shot for desertion / opening is barren landscape, trenches … sets up expectations.)

David Morley did a study in 1980 on TV News programme Nationwide. Did an audience study; divided into groups – some took message wholesale, some took oppositional stance, and some negotiated meaning. (4)

Books: AS and A2 Media spec pub. Hodder Elspeth Stevenson

Also Essential Media            Steve Kruger and Pete Wall

Citizen Media – internet / social networking sites… more democratic?

Media 2.0 ‘everyone’s a participator’ actor, creator (5)

Narrative – see sep sheet – but essentially – narrative arc: exposition / problem / complication / climax / resolution (6)

Binary codes

E.g. someone packing a suitcase / suitcase full of money

E.g. the cigarette butt in ‘Brick.’

Characters – Stereotyping – countertypes; representations are more diffuse in modern world.

‘Requiem for a Dream’ – representations of black men – here a black deaf man with power.

‘The Wire’ – Omar Little – black and gay

‘Pulling’ 3 women / Karen a primary school teacher – predator

The Sun website / representation – stereotypes!!

[ can do own 10q’s survey.]

[Media Magazine theory articles!!]

Post-modernism – essential. See sheet.

Hyper-reality – Katie Price! Everything about her is unreal.

Lara Croft

Jade Goody (7)

Fragmentation – e.g. Noel Fielding’s multiple identities in ‘The Mighty Boosch’, series 3 ‘party’ representation and postmodernism.

Case Study 1.

Gavin and Stacey series 1 episode 5 (8) audience / uses and grats / encoding / 2 Step Flow / narrative arc (stag night hen night, poss pregnancy, uncle left out, Stacey been engaged before…) / stereotypes (behaviour of lads on stag night / behaviour of girls on hen night/ black guy break dancing…) / countertypes (Nesser) / binary opps Welsh girls vs Essex girls, class, mums, males vs females, comedy vs drama, countertypes Nesser vs Stacey…/ action and enigma in the form of Achmed who gives away the information! / contextual info ie. background the families are all named after serial killers the Wests, the Sutcliffes, the Shipmans!!

Also in this episode: layering in texts: pastiche = the Full Monty / intertextuality = G4, congestion charge/ Eastenders, Davina Mc Coll, Morrisons / Hyper-reality would he rather have sex with Pat Butcher or Pam St Clements the actress!

Additional context Corden and Horne went onto to make stand up series but couldn’t quite escape their characters from this series.

A2 Marxism classical: 2 classes in conflict (9):

See exercise 10 below the bourgeoisie didn’t care about the needs of the individual.

The raison d’être of capitalism is the need / desire to make a profit.

Gramsci and Hegemony – government by consent – those in power convince the others that they should have the power. (10) [Tina does an exercise where she locks the classroom door then tells the students that they have a choice either they can write a timed essay and get a sweet or she will beat them with a stick until they write it anyway!! This teaches the idea of hegemony!!]

Students should be able to apply the concept of hegemony – i.e. governing by coercion or by bribe. Can they think of examples in British life / culture / work…?

Case Study 2.

‘Little Miss Sunshine:’ look at opening sequence for the representations of old people (11) but also of the little girl. The old man, played by Alan Alda, is a drug addicted old reprobate so he is anti-hegemonic. The father tows the hegemonic party line with his inspirational lectures on ‘go and make your dreams come true.’

Anti-hegemonic representations (12) are more likely in Indie / European films non-mainstream. (13)

Example ‘This is thi six o’clock news’ poem from the English Anthology. Discuss whether this attitude is prevalent and / or true!

Case Study 3.

Watch an episode of Shameless and discuss the way people actually feel about this kind of family, behaviour, attitudes to sex, employment, the law etc and the way people feel they should feel!!

Contrast this with a discussion about programmes such as Jamie Oliver, or Trinny and Susannah or How Clean is Your house, Wife Swap… and the increase in ‘middle-classisation’ of the working class! Is this attempt to perpetuate and extend middle-class values acceptable, desirable and would it even work???? (14)

[Could also look at opposite Hegemonic views for example Muslim anti-commercialism, anti-capitalism, anti-materialism.]

George Ritzer 1996 Hyper-reality – he pointed out:

  • The breakdown of distinction between high and low culture e.g. BBC4 Enid Blyton, or Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet
  • Breaking down of barriers between genres and styles [NB creativity] e.g. Ashes to Ashes
  • Mixing up of time and space and narrative e.g. LOST particularly with the flashbacks then flash forwards now the parallel time line of possibility!
  • And emphasis on style over content e.g. reality shows high production values.
  • Finally the blurring of the distinction between reality and non-reality

Example here of Skins actor Nicholas Holt – if do a Sun website search it writes about Nicholas as tony – then look at his website or MySpace page, he is clearly middle-class and well-educated which is at odds with the representation on The Sun’s website.

Feminism Romantic individualism Angela Mc Robbie in her research into young women’s magazines discovered they were all about finding women a man and how women were urged to look attractive for men.

Ferguson further identified the older women’s magazines as – ‘now you’ve got your man, how to keep him.’

Laura Mulvey’s
Male Gaze Theory (15)

Patriarchalism – predominant ideology is that men don’t like to watch gay men kiss.

Case Study 4.

Skins series 1 episode 1.

No parity on screen, men clothed, women naked; slow motion on Michelle, her legs as she walks towards Tony. Later a long slow upwards travelling shot of a girl shaving her legs from her legs to her face. Fragmentation. In both cases they slow the narrative down.

Tony by contrast is seen totally differently – quick edits when he’s exercising.

See report in the Guardian about a report on the treatment of women by bouncers in Clubs in Coventry.

Lady Gaga video. She’s wearing a bikini. Post modernism / post-feminism / feminism? The way she dresses is an example of bricollage.


Texts not made in a vacuum. Made in certain sets of circumstances. Background and history. (16)

Changes in content are impinged on by changes in society and in law e.g. little smoking now seen on screen see Life on Mars for contrast with 1970s Britain.

You tube: ‘The Public Enemy’ with James Cagney he pushes a grapefruit in a woman’s face acceptable then but not now. Whereas then they couldn’t show the act of murder. And sex violence and swearing was implicit rather than explicit now.

Drug use – now become quite common in the media with rare comments on the consequences. Easy Rider banned when it came out in this country.

Case Study 5.

Find out who owns the social networking sites. Why is this important what else do they own?

And now a note on Creativity – could refer to the difference in use of a PC vs a Mac in reference to ease of use, software availability, technical expertise, cost etc.

Finally break the assessment objectives down to keywords in the mark scheme.

And remember 20,20,10!!

(1) Research into what products people most recently bought due to an advert. Discuss findings.

(2) Memories of what first frightened individual students.

(3) Show clip of Skins or similar and ask why they would watch programs like this. Put categories on board.

(4) Homework – watch something as a family – survey what different people thought about it / gender / age / class diff opinions?

(5) Survey class – how many have made something and uploaded it? How many have been in something?

(6) Watch episode of something and identify the stages of narrative.

(7) What is New York Like? How many have been there? How do they know what they know? Probably from the media.

Or what do they know about John Terry, Tiger Woods, Gordon Brown? Probably nothing but what they’ve learned from the media.

(8) Watch this episode see how many of the different aspects the students can identify and illustrate; could give them a grid to fill in.

(9) Role play: give the students cards with a variety of character profiles on e.g. hotel owner, factory owner, business man etc. plus others e.g. single-mother with 2 year old child, woman who gets pregnant and tells boss, married man with 3 children… the latter category have to apply for jobs and the former have to choose who to give the jobs to, why and why not.

(10) Exercise – if you weren’t here what would you be doing? Or what were you told from a very young age? E.g. be good, work hard, get good grades, get a good job, get married, have children, be a good citizen, keep the law.

(11) Mind map hegemonic representations of old people / pensioners.

(12) Research task find examples of anti-hegemonic representations of groups in contemporary media.

(13) Are your chosen texts anti- or hegemonic is it a reflection of their institutional outlook?

(14) Task: make two adverts for the same product [e.g. car] using the same models/ actors e.g. girl in provocative clothes being sold a car by a middle-class salesman versus a female salesperson in a suit using technical language and where the client is a man who doesn’t understand.

(15) Task: film or story board a film sequence of a woman. How would she be viewed? See Skins Episode 1 Tony’s story.

(16) Research the Hays code and see how it affected film making while in place. The Hays Code – Motion Picture Production code of 1930.