Postmodernism: Revision Notes 2015

G325: Critical Perspectives in Media

• This exam is worth 25% of your A-Level grade.

• It is two hours long.

• Section A - Theoretical evaluation of practical production (50 marks)

• Section B - Contemporary Media Issues (50 marks)

• There will be six topic areas. You have studied postmodernism. Within this topic
you will have a choice of two questions. You will spend one hour answering one of
these questions. This needs to be a well-structured, well-planned academic essay.

Previous exam questions:

• What is meant by postmodern media? (Jan 2010)
• Explain why the idea of “postmodern media” might be considered controversial.
(Jan 2010)
• Why are some media products described as “postmodern”? (June 2010)
• “Postmodern media blur the boundary between reality and representation”.
Discuss this idea with reference to media texts that you have studied. (June 2010)
• Explain how certain kinds of media can be defined as postmodern. (Jan 2011)
• Discuss why some people are not convinced by the idea of postmodern media.
(Jan 2011)
• How do postmodern media differ from other media? (June 2011)
• How far do you accept the idea of postmodern media? (June 2011)
• “Postmodern media manipulate time and space.” To what extent does this
definition apply to texts you have studied? (Jan 2012)
• Define postmodern media, with examples. (Jan 2012)
• Assess the arguments for and against postmodernism, in relation to media
examples. (June 2012)
• “Postmodern media break the rules of representation.” Discuss. (June 2012)
• “All contemporary media is postmodern” Discuss this statement in relation to
examples you have studied (Jan 2013)
• Evaluate theories of postmodernism in relation to media (Jan 2013)
• Provide your definition of postmodern media and support it with examples (June
2013)
• To what extent do postmodern media challenge the relationship between text and
audience? (June 2013)
• What makes a media text postmodern? Explain, with examples (June 2014)
• Explain the most important theories of postmodernism and apply them to media
texts you have studied (June 2014)

You must refer to at least two different media (e.g. films, tv, games, internet. Don’t
just write about adverts and tv programmes – both of those are from one medium – tv)

You must refer to past, present and future (with an emphasis on the present, using
contemporary examples from the last five years). For the future part, discuss the
growing use of the internet, social networking and digimodernism.

Refer to critical/theoretical positions (Learn quotes from theorists, e.g. Baudrillard,
Lyotard, Jameson, Kirby etc)
Begin the essay with an introduction about what postmodernism is. Start with a sentence
that sums up what postmodernism is: e.g. a late-twentieth-century critical, literary, and
performance movement, a cultural movement, an ongoing and evolving movement in
the arts, grew out of/reacts against modernism etc. Then sum up some of
postmodernisms key ideas: e.g. rejecting ideas of “truth”, challenging originality,
multiplicity, decenteredness & fragmentation of meaning, irony & self-reference, rejects
verisimilitude, opposing hierarchy, rejection of grand narratives, mixing previous styles
and themes, recycling culture, challenging producer/consumer relationships, embracing
paradox, lacking a clear organising principle, embracing extreme complexity,
contradiction, ambiguity, diversity and intertextuality, parody, pastiche and bricolage,
hyperreality. Refer to some key ideas about postmodern media and maybe refer to the
question.

Then do solid PEEL paras that address the question. You must use exact words from
the question in both your point sentence and your link sentence. You must refer
specifically to postmodernism in your point sentence and either in your explanation or
your link.

You should include a quote from a theorist in almost every paragraph.

Ideas we have looked at:

Only do one postmodern point per PEEL para

 Structured Reality: Hyperreality
 Surreal adverts: Lacking a clear organising principle, embracing extreme
complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity
 Intertextual adverts: Intertextuality, parody, pastiche
 Last Friday Night music video: Intertextual reference to the conventions of films,
intertextual reference to the conventions of teen movies, rejecting verisimilitude
by merging time periods, ironic use of stars, hyperreal promotion.
 Fancy music video: Intertextuality (pastiche)
 Hard Out Here music video: Intertextuality (parody)
 Lady Gaga Applause and Telephone music videos: Intertextuality, rejecting the
grand narrative of idealised female beauty
 Gogglebox: watching a tv show where we watch people watching tv shows
(Beware: this is a hard one to write about!)
 Facebook: hyperreality, multiplicity and decenteredness of meaning, rejecting
grand narratives
 Instagram: rejection of verisimilitude, rejection of time, collapsing the past and
present together
 Computer games: hyperreality
 Digimodernism: define it and explain it
 Digimodern tv programmes: rely on us to shape the narrative by voting
 Digimodern promotion: rely on us to share the texts, texts are deliberately created
with shareability in mind
Digimodern internet sites: rely on us to participate and use them, ones like tumblr
and pintrest also include pomo elements of bricolage and challenging originality
Digimodern internet participation: memes and vines – we create cultural
fragments, imbue them with meaning and share them.

You must refer to historical origins – where have some of these things come from? And
you must refer to the future – where is postmodernism and digimodernism heading?
All the work we have done on postmodernism this year is in student shared. Cross
reference what is there with what you already have in your book and print off anything
that you’re missing. Please don’t just print it all out. That will waste paper and will mean
you have a curse placed upon you for the exam.