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Transcript of Understanding Genre
Week 4: Genre
3 March 2011
Lecturer: Aristea Fotopoulou
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Overview of lecture
classification → cultural knowledge, common sense → expectations and assumptions
audiences, producers, media scholars (and media students)
repetition of patterns
intertextuality and hybridity
break (10 minutes)
case study 3. Who classifies? Status, pleasure and power hierarchies of power
'dumping down' vs. 'high art'
University challenge or Eggheads? Jeremy Kyle or Newsnight? 4. Looking closer at genre characteristics repetition and difference – a balanced blend
auditory and iconographic signifiers
Examples: Ennio Morricone, John Barry and Henry Manchini film music. 5. Can genre rules be broken? Transgression of boundaries
affective responses – surprise, laughter
re-attribution of rules and expectations
Example: Mighty Boosh, The Office (UK) 6. Case study: sci-fi/fantasy of True Blood, Heroes, and Lost narrative structure
intertextuality, hybridity, transgression of rules?
cultural value and status 1. Etymology
'Genre' means 'type'. It is a taxonomy - a way of interpreting and analysing media texts. 'television comes at the audience as a flow of programmes, all with different generic conventions, means that it is more difficult to sustain the purity of the genre in the viewing experience' (Abercrombie 1996, 45). ‘Intertextuality’ suggests that
texts always refer to other texts
and that the author is not the main
source of the meaning of a text. settings: the prototypical setting or world associated with a genre -
imagery: certain prototypical, archetypal images and symbols.
plot/storyline: predictable narrative sequences of events
Who is the show for?
What aspects of historical experience are allegorised?
How do they respond to social and political change in the US?
Gender, racial politics in narrative logic? 2. Why Genre? Why study it and why use it? Audiences → familiarity, predictability, pleasure. Social ritual.
Producers → risk control
Critics and scholars → hierarchies of cultural value
genre gives solutions to social preoccupations. Genre is a system of classification that changes in various contexts.
Genre serves certain political and social purposes – 'ideological theories' of genre.
It establishes hierarchies of values, by attributing 'high' or 'low' cultural status to media products
also to the audiences.