Tuesday, 7 February 2012

David Buckingham

Renowned theorist ‘Christian Metz’ believed that genre alters over time though a process of development. Metz divided his process into four stages know as ‘Experimental’, ‘De-construction’, ‘Parody’ and finally ‘Hybrid’. While, ‘Gunther Kress’ argues that genre evolves with progression and changes in time. Kress argued that written text is constructed with and ideal audience.
In contrast to these theorists, David Buckingham studied children's and young people's interactions with electronic media. Ever changing media, ever changing identities - development of genre to the argues, genre is not simply given by the culture; rather it is a constant process of negotiation and change

Discovering the depth of Identity - Buckingham explores the development of how individuals understand the concept of identity. As a child identity is seen as a simple concept where by a child will simply differentiate between male and female genders.
According to Buckingham, as we grow older our understanding of identity becomes very complex no longer a simple method of just establishing gender.
Buckingham argues that "Genre is not... simply given by the culture rather it is in a constant process of regulation and change.
As a child identity is a simple concept a child could differentiate between male and female. As we grow older identity becomes very complex. Identity is unique and ever changing and so is genre.
He notes there has hardly been any empirical research on the ways in which real audiences might understand genre or use this understanding in making sense on specific texts.
Says would be mistake to regard the data as a demonstration of child’s pre-existing cognitive understandings since he stresses that categorization in a social process as well as a cognitive one, evidence that children progressively acquire a discourse of genre as the mature that is a set of terms which facilitate process of categorisation or at least make some
Applying David Buckingham’s theory to legendary band the Bee Gees and currently active boy band JLS
How are they different?

To some extent the Bee Gees were an early prototype to the more recognisable boy bands of today.  The band consisted of 3 initial members; Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb who were all brothers formed the group in the late 50s and early 60s. The Bee Gees defined the disco and pop era of the 60s and 70s and created the initial stereotypes for that genre from clothing to their hairstyles. 

In contrast, recently established boy band JLS were formed as a result of there second placed triumph on the X-Factor reality show. The boy band consists of 4 members 
How are men being shown?

Appearance wise, the Bee Gees are wearing quite flamboyant and less recognisable clothing to today’s fashion. As the Bee Gees career developed so did their attire, as they soon established their own trademark clothing of polyester flares, bell bottoms and platform shoes. However, surprisingly there isn't a stark contrast between JLS' outfits. Although they wear completely different outfit and have different hairstyles they both essentially wore tight clothing. 
Change in stereotypes?
What do the contradicting images say about the stereotype?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Uses & Gratifications

During the 1960s, as the first generation to grow up with television became grown ups, it became increasingly apparent to media theorists that audiences made choices about what they did when consuming texts. Far from being a passive mass, audiences were made up of individuals who actively consumed texts for different reasons and in different ways. In 1948 Lasswell suggested that media texts had the following functions for individuals and society:
  • surveillance
  • correlation
  • entertainment
  • cultural transmission
Researchers Blulmer and Katz expanded this theory and published their own in 1974, stating that individuals might choose and use a text for the following purposes (ie uses and gratifications):
  • Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine.
  • Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, eg) substituting soap operas for family life
  • Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts
  • Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living eg) weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains
Since then, the list of Uses and Gratifications has been extended, particularly as new media forms have come along (eg video games, the internet)

Two-Step Flow

The Hypodermic model quickly proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between audience and text. As the mass media became an essential part of life in societies around the world and did NOT reduce populations to a mass of unthinking drones, a more sophisticated explanation was sought.

Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet analysed the voters' decision-making processes during a 1940 presidential election campaign and published their results in a paper called The People's Choice. Their findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through "opinion leaders" who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence. The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders, thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two step flow. This diminished the power of the media in the eyes of researchers, and caused them to conclude that social factors were also important in the way in which audiences interpreted texts. This is sometimes referred to as the limited effects paradigm.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


A text which is categorised through the identification of key elements or its media term 'paradigms' which occur in the text or in other texts of the same genus.
Genre can be seperated into 6 different fundamentals or 'paradigms' -
  • Narrative - Similar structure, predictable,
  • Theme - Issues it concerns
  • Iconography - Main signs and symbols you see/hear
  • Identity - Similar types of characteristers and behaviour
  • Structure - The way it is organized and arranged
  • Setting - Geographical and settings