Communication and Culture Fictions (Audience reception theory (Preferred…
Communication and Culture Fictions
The study of stories and narratives in society. It includes the study of how we tell stories and how this shapes our lives.
Fictions are embedded in our culture.
We are interested in narrative forms (how stories are put together) and in genre (the catergories of stories).
A more formal and academic way of saying "brainwash"
The knowledge and experiences that individual audience members bring to a media product.
Is the process by which people learn the requirements of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviours appropriate or necessary to that culture. Bourdieu (1967)
For a culture to effectively form it must engage in 'shared understanding' of how to interpret the world that surrounds it.
Paradigm and Syntagm
Narrative can be seen as a set of signs therefore we can analyse it in terms of paradigm and syntagm.
The ways in which meanings are structured as stories
We have a propensity to narrativise - which is a tendency to turn all experiences into a narrative (story)
We are motivated to formulate and detect narratives and look for sequences, meaningful order and causality.
We, therefore, find it hard to believe that something is just random so we naturally look for an answer/ narrative.
A set of ideas that compose one's goals, expectations and actions
Believed that the media was a form of social control much like the police or the military.
It can be argued that TV has this as it presents fictions to us. It provides us with a language to talk about contemporary reality. It reassures us of our place, identity and community.
It provides a framework for our emotional responses and actions.
The way stories are told
As well as social class narratives, the media subjects us to imperial narratives; nationalistic stories that promote British values while "othering" so called foreigners.
Said that the proletariat are suffering from "false consciousness" created by the media.
The Heider - Simmel illusion (1944)
They discovered that many people who watched this abstract film of simple shapes roaming around were quick to see a story unfold. In those simple shapes, viewers often saw characters with emotions, motivations and purpose.
Social class narratives
Throughout the media, people are shown to have stereotypes attributed to them. These stereotypes can be broken up into different sections - one of which is class.
Although it could be argued that the class system is one of society's biggest problems, the media rarely focuses on it.
Audience reception theory
This is when audiences respond to the product the way media producers want/ expect them to
eg that the plot of Frozen is about a queen with special powers.
This is when the audience are in complete disagreement with the media product's message or setting
eg that Frozen is about a women dealing with her sexuality
This is when a member of the audience partly agrees with the media product
eg that the plot of Frozen is about a queen with special powers but there could also be a gay subplot.
Stuart Hall (1980)
Types of newspapers
A Tabloid or red top
A working class audience
A mid market newspaper
A middle class audience
Entertaing coverage with some in depth analysis
An upper class audience
In depth analysis
Suggested that habitus is reinforced by fictions
Habitus - social norms or tendencies that guide behaviour and thinking. Fictions are one of the ways that social norms are reinforced.
Theorised that fictions cross the boundary between fantasy and reality as we are asked to emotionally respond as if the events are a representation of real events (hyper - reality).
Newman (2006) representations of social classes
Most creative workers in the media industry are from the middle class, therefore they possess the power and authority to influence the rest of society.
Newman (2006) believes that the media portrays the working class negatively, typically as welfare cheats, drug addicts or criminals.
The working class are...
Often shown to be the cause of society's problems through the use of moral panic.
Portrayed as unreasonable and lazy rather than as the victims of unfair government policy.
Wealth and upper class
The upper class are shown as...
The top of the hierarchy
Deserving of their wealth, celebrity and status
And NOT responsible for the gap in equality between them and the poor
Reiner and young (2007)
The media tends to portray the UK as a meritocratic society in which intelligence, talent and hard work are rewarded.
Neo Marxists argue that wealth rather than ability gives access to Oxbridge education and top jobs.
Believed that the media was an ideological state apparatus (ISA) BUT that they worked alongside repressive state (RSA)
Modes of address
Deals with Berne's parent, adult, child ego states (1964)
Is the way that we speak to people depending on the situation and circumstances.
All texts have the capacity to communicate. We search for their meaning.
H. Porter Abbott (2002)
Suggested that the majority of stories contained "master plots"; stories that occur in numerous forms, connecting to our deepest cultural hopes and fears.
H Porter Abbott (2002) said these are indicative of culture and give us an expected structure and plot before we even see them. Many films use master plots so the story can be easily engaged with by an audience.
Roland Barthes (1957) theorised that nearly all stories were the same in basis and linked to wider themes. They often acted to 'teach' a lesson or inform culture. Eg enculturation.
The construction of ideas through language
Eg the discourse of lifestyle magazines revolve around body image and narcissism and this, therefore, gives the audience these values.
Modes of address in the media
Talking directly to the audience
Talking indirectly to the audience
eg two presenters talking to each other while the audience listens in.
Use of complex words
use of slang and everyday language
The same media product can have different modes of address.
For example Sherlock fan fiction is often very different to the main programme.
The small, extremely personalised stories that come out of each individual person's life experiences; similair to a connotation.
Often a product or text will provide us with multiple stories or smaller hints at culture without a longer narrative needed to structure it more emphatically.
This can be done by reading the text as a bricolage and linking in the cultural indicators.
Fictions roles in society
To communicate cultural norms and values to us
They provide us with structural devices that enable us to 'enact' our culture.
Fictions, Postmodernism and Consumerism
We are asked to emotionally respond as if the events are a representation of real events (hyperreality)
Advertisers are well aware of the potential of fictions to elicit certain responses from the viewer/ audience.
Narrative, Consumerism and PostModernism
A product is placed within advertising to make it look like it can be incorporated into someone's life and make their everyday life more interesting. This is an example of narrative.
Narrative, Ideology and Indoctrination
Narrative and ideology are entwined as our own set of ideas (or other people's)to inform our ideas on narrative.
Fictions and ideal self
In telling our own stories we are giving structure to our own lives. We apply structure we are familiar with such as each story has a beginning, middle and end.
Fictions, Postodernsim and Consumerism - Continued
Create an alluring and fictional world
Invites potential customers to adopt an attractive character within this imagined world.
Hints that the acquisition of a product or service may open the door between the real world and the fictional world. (eg make your dreams come true)