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5/24/2018 Narrative Theorists - Media Studies - Revision World

Home /  AS & A2 LEVEL (A-Level) Revision /  Media Studies A-Level Revision /  Key Media Studies Theorists

Narrative Theorists
Narrative Theorists
  Quick revise
Roland Barthes – Cultural, Semantic, Symbolic, Hermeneutic, Proairetic Codes (5
Narrative Codes): “The cultural, or referential code in Star Trek (2009) draws on audience pre-existing
understanding of science ‘fact’ while symbolism is created from the tension and character development of
Spock and Kirk, placed in opposition to each other. Applying the semantic code there are additional
connotations to both characters’ dress code; Spock is clean shaven, immaculately dressed with correct
posture and gate while Kirk slumps in his chair, is scru y on Earth (the bouncer calls him ‘farm boy’) and is
not so well turned out. When battle commences the proairetic or action code adds suspense and excitement
to the narrative while the hermeneutic code in opposition, limits the audience understanding to create
enigma making audiences want to know more”.
Goodwin – Useful for Analysing Music Videos if relevant for MS2 or MS3 internal assessment – 5 key features:
“Using Andrew Goodwin’s theory of music videos (from ‘Dancing in the Distraction Factory’), in Lady Gaga’s
‘Telephone’ music video (with Beyoncé) the hybridized genre conventions of glam rock and pop are
immediately established. As in Mylie Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ video, Gaga is fetishized for voyeuristic pleasure
and notions of ‘the look’. There is a direct relationship between the music and narrative development while
Gaga is frequently seen in close up wearing quirky clothes (audience identification and the myth she is
‘singing to us’). Finally intertextuality is crucial with references to films Kill Bill and Thelma and Louise”.
Lyotard – Postmodern Theory Against Meta-Narratives, Pro Micro Narratives and Fragmentation: “Mapped
onto film Lyotard is suggesting that meta-narratives would include science, religion, history, war/conflict,
national identity, love/romance, other worlds – the stu of mainstream Hollywood films and that these
narratives have been replaced by more non linear, localised mini narratives that explore individual
experience and are more self referential e.g. The Double (January 2014, Richard Ayoade’s second film)”.
Propp – 8 Character Roles: “Propp’s character roles mainly only apply to mainstream texts/films e.g. Disney
films and Blockbusters but can on occasion, also be useful for understanding running stories e.g. the NOTW
Phone Hacking scandal. Propp’s 8 character roles are the hero (can also be the initial victim), the villain, false
hero (perceived as good but turns out evil), the Princess (a reward for the hero and much sought a er), Her
Father (gives, sometimes metaphorically the princess to the hero), the donor (gives the hero a magical gi to
help him with his quest e.g. Mrs. Brown in Titanic), the dispatcher (sends the hero on his way) and the helper
(helps the hero in his quest) e.g. Samwise in Lord of the Rings.
Levi-Strauss - Binary Oppositions: “In terms of dress code, the hero and the villain in Skyfall are in binary
opposition to each other to anchor audience identification”.
Todorov – Four-Act Structure: “In American Beauty, the opening sequence creates an equilibrium or normality
for the audience. Lester Burnham’s dramatic decision to leave his job ensures disruption (this disruption is
continued throughout the narrative) while resolution is established when Burnham feels ‘at one’ with the
world (he works out, smokes cannabis and seems care free) but is ultimately shot and killed by Colonel Frank
Fitts. A new equilibrium suggests nothing will ever be the same again (a new beginning) although this is only
implied in narrative closure”.  

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