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Postmodernism: Revision Notes 2014

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)

You must refer to at least two different media (e.g. films, tv, games, internet. Don’t
just write about adverts and soaps – 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, Strinati, Kirby)

Begin the essay with a good definition of/discussion of what postmodernism actually is.
Ideas to help you…

PoMo came after modernism. PoMo is a cultural movement. Key ideas within PoMo
include: A rejection of “truth”, a mixing of previous styles and themes, irony and self-
reference, challenging originality, challenging traditional author/interpreter relationships,
multiplicity, rejection of grand narratives, opposing hierarchy, recycling culture,
questioning reasoning and ideology, embracing paradox, lacking a clear organising
principle or hierarchy, emboying complexity, contradiction, ambiguity and diversity.
Intertextuality, parody, pastiche, bricolage and hyperreality are important elements of

Then do solid PEEL paras that address the question. Your paras must look at exactly
how and why a text can be considered to be postmodern and what experiences this
may offer the consumer. Also revise the debate around postmodernism and
criticisms of it.

All work we have covered (and some that we haven’t!) is in student shared (Pomo 2013).

We have looked at:

Postmodern Pop Videos: Katy Perry and Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga:

General info on how she’s postmodern -

Paparazzi (2008) Useful Slideshare -

Academic essay on her postmodern qualities -

Academic study on her postmodern qualities -

Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night Video: (see wiki page on this song for additional info)

Conventions of teen movies – establishing shot, opening and closing credits (with
outtakes), narrative, stereotyped characters,

Playful merging of time periods (80s fashion and hair combined with laptops, social
networking and Wii games)

Use of stars: Rebecca Black (a homage to her video “Friday”), two actors from Glee,
Hanson, and stars from the 80s – Kenny G, Debbie Gibson and Corey Feldman (who
makes an intertextual references to The Lost Boys, a film he starred in and was released
in 1987)

Use of Katy Perry’s alter ego Kathy Beth Terry – facebook and twitter profiles were
created for her prior to the videos release.

Postmodern Adverts

Self referentiality: Reasons it works well in adverts – Time (The short running time
means the joke isn’t dragged out and loses impact.) Pleasure (Audiences derive pleasure
from knowing and understanding the “in-jokes”.) The digimodern age (In the age of social
media (facebook, twitter, youtube) we are all acutely aware of constructions and
representations. We also have at our disposal the tools to create our own media products
and distribute them, highlighting to us the processes of construction.)
Intertextuality: (Intergeneric and intrageneric intertextuality.)

The Sun iPhone advert parody & the Somersby Cider Apple store parody.

Postmodernism & social networking

Facebook: Hyperreality, creating simulations of ourselves, authoring our own multiple
narratives, rejecting grand narratives

Instagram: Rejection of verisimilitude, collapsing time indicators, creating nostalgia,
embracing the meta and self-referential.