Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


you can find more on the Evaluation overall in this hub post.

CIAE Q1b 'how does it represent social groups or issues'

This is essentially practice for the first half of your exam: the Q1b REPRESENTATION topic (and AUDIENCE eg U+G, with further links to GENRE eg sub-culture, NARRATIVE eg hero's journey and MEDIA LANGUAGE eg simulacra), and links into Q1a, especially 'U' (use of conventions).
You need to consider and select a range of theories from your MANGeR pack, and apply both elements of semiotics when you provide examples:
  • specific and precise denotation (WHAT you did)
  • analysis of possible connotations (WHY you did)
Tackle either 1 character/setting at a time (highlighting any binaries) or 1 demographic/issue at a time.
You should see links with your AS exam TV Drama Q, which also requires you to discuss issues raised through media language choices.
Basic judgements to make: stereo/arche/countertype; normative/counter-hegemonic - or a mix (which might fit with narrative theories, eg Campbell's monomyth, Todorov's new equilibrium) - and WHY you did this, linked directly to audience/s targeted. U+G is an obvious theory to use - there are many more below and in Q1b exam pack.
What social groups? 2 basics: gender, age (teen, tween etc). Sexuality. Ethnicity. Nationality/regionality. Rural/urban/metropolitan. Social class and status (ABC1CDE). Religion/spirituality. Dis/ability.
What issues? Sexuality and gender are likely to be foremost: hetero-normative? Queering? (Fe)male gaze? Performativity of gender? The obvious 'ism' is (post-)feminism, but capitalism/consumerism and postmodernism (challenges to perceptions of an observable reality, meta-narratives; deconstructionism; simulacra) also. Look back at the in-depth case studies of Breaking Bad and other TV Drama clips for more inspiration.
Work through the embedded PowerPoint below for a range of suggested theories and terms

How YOU planned to represent and have audiences respond to people and places in your video etc is not necessarily how they did - it would be useful to include some audience feedback and reflection on this. Where was there polysemy that enabled some audience members (perhaps of certain demographics: gender? age? nationality?) to give a negotiated or even oppositional reading?

You can approach this question in two fundamental ways: tackling one category of representation at a time OR separately analysing each character and place in turn. Representation is also a major issue for audience (eg U+G).

Representation topics are best thought of as going along demographic lines; I have provided guidance in the coursework pack (audience section), and also in a list of common stereotypes/issues in a document embedded further down.

Always consider gender and age. These have a major impact on any potential target audience.
The uses and gratifications theory is very useful for Q3, but might also be used here - see this post+ tag.

Ethnicity, physical dis/ability, sexuality and regional identity can also be useful to address. Even if you had limited casting options, no matter how briefly do try to address any lack of ethnic, sexual or disability diversity/representation.

Whether you intended to or not you will have touched on issues around gender and age, but are also likely to have included representations that could link into wider issues..

Wider issues could include technology (technotopian or dystopian? the downsides of experiencing life through a small screen? the impact of media representations can be an issue for media work too! loss of privacy? paranoia and conspiracy theories spread online), the breakdown of trust in established institutions (banks, politicians, police); the uncertainties of life at key points like ending school or starting/finishing university (birthdays, certain ages too) and the tension between fun and youthful freedom and adult responsibility; the rise of nationalism and extremist parties plus anti-immigration; the crisis within the EU; the global economic crisis, austerity (governments slashing public spending), the inability of younger generations to get jobs or on the housing ladder, and the crisis in the housing market (including high rents for young people) ... Donald Trump ...

The zeitgeist (spirit of the age, things that sum up the times we live in) is very broad.

Basically, think carefully about any issue you might have touched upon, intentionally or not - audience feedback can be useful to help identify areas you hadn't been aware of or considered.

Representation theories and theorists 

A sample of Richard Dyer's writing:

Common stereotypes to look out for


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