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Transcript of Narrative theory
SECTION A: THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF COURSEWORK
To understand a range of narrative theories.
To be able to apply narrative theory to the analysis of a media text.
To evaluate the usefulness of narrative theories.
Put these events in order
Detective investigates Crime conceived Crime discovered Detective identifies criminals Crime committed Crime planned
The story is…
a) Crime conceived b) Crime planned c) Crime committed d) Crime discovered e) Detective investigates f) Detective identifies criminals
Could the story events be arranged in a different sequence to make the narrative more interesting?
The plot could be…
d) Crime discovered e) Detective investigates f) Detective identifies criminals a) Crime is conceived b) Crime is planned c) Crime is committed
Narrative Story vs. Narrative Plot
all events referenced both explicitly in a narrative and inferred (including backstory as well as those projected beyond the action)
the events directly incorporated into the action of the text and the order in which they are presented
Narrative Story Narrative Plot
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation You will be asked 2 questions about your
coursework. Question 1(a) will ask you to describe and
evaluate the development of your coursework from your AS Production to your A2 Production.
You will be asked to do this in relation to one or two of the following areas: Digital technology Creativity Research and Planning Post-production Use of media conventions
Question 1(b) will ask you to choose one coursework product (either AS or A2) and evaluate it in relation to a theoretical concept.
The exam will specify one concept from the following: Genre Narrative Representation Audience Media Language
Definitions of Narrative
Narrative is defined as “a chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occurring in time” (Bordwell & Thompson).
Narrative is ‘a way of organising spatial and temporal events into a cause-effect chain of events with a beginning, a middle, and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of events’ (Branigan).
Narrative theory analyses the way in which media texts communicate meaning about events.
Narrative theory can be applied to range of different media including film, TV. Photographs, and magazines.
Narrative analysis of internet based media is more problematic, though may still be relevant. For example, you could consider how someone’s Facebook profile creates a narrative about their life.
Read the chapter on Narrative Theory. Note down key points about the
following theorists: Branigan Propp Barthes Todorov Levi-Strauss
How useful do you think their perspectives are?
Branigan argues that narrative is ‘ a way of organising spatial and temporal data into a cause-effect chain of events with a beginning, a middle and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of events.’
What is Branigan saying? Can you think of an example?
Branigan’s key point is that the narrative will embody a judgement – ideology and narrative.
Propp suggests that there are a limited number of character types that share a function.
When an audience reads a media text it deploys its knowledge of these character types in order to decode the meaning of the text.
Can you relate any of the character types to the characters in your coursework products?
Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution. How might this be used to analyse the
ideology of a media text?
Barthes identifies 5 narrative codes which readers use to decode texts.
He emphasises the active role of readers in creating meaning, and their ‘culturally formed expectations’.
The narrative codes are: Action Enigma Semic Symbolic Cultural
Narratives are structured by pairs of binary oppositions.
How can this be used to analyse media texts?
Some theorists suggest that postmodern narratives are different from previous narrative structures.
Characteristics of postmodern narratives include: Irony, playfulness, and black humour Intertextuality Pastiche Metanarratives Extreme self-reflexivity Temporal distortion Hyperreality
Linda Hutcheon argues that postmodern narratives can critique contemporary society by calling attention to the constructed nature of the society.
Theorist Key Words
Apply one of the narrative theories to the analysis of the music video.
Narrative analysis involves considering how a range of elements (including mise-en-scene, editing, camerawork, sound, as well as events) create meaning for the audience.
Narrative analysis focuses on how the meanings made by the audience are constructed?
How useful is this approach?
Equilibrium – the geeky girl is in love with the boy next door who only sees her as a friend.
Disequilibrium – the boy’s girlfriend cheats on him?
Resolution – the geeky girl is transformed into a beautiful girl and gets together with the boy.
What sort of values are reinforced by this narrative structure?
Propp – character types
Hero – character who seeks something – Taylor Swift
Villain – character who the hero must overcome – the girlfriend
Princess – the boy – he is the reward for the hero.
What effect does the use of these character types have?
Why might the hero and villain be female? What values are reinforced by this?
Levi-strauss – binary oppositions The video involves a number of pairs of
opposites reflecting (and resolving) the narrative conflicts.
There are different sets of oppositions between the jock/the geek, and the cheerleader/the geek.
These oppositions identify the central ideological messages of the video.
Male Sociable Popular Sport Object
Female Studious Unpopular Reading Subject
What are the key conflicts? Which values are dominant in the pairs? How are the conflicts resolved? What messages are conveyed through
Barthes – Narrative Codes
Action – Viewers are expected to connect different pieces of narrative (e.g. The boy is shown arguing on his phone – viewer assumes it is with his girlfriend).
Enigma – Will the jock and the geek get together?
Semic – glasses, book, notepads, red car, uniforms, white dress/red dress
Symbolic – conflicts between male/female, popular/unpopular, different types of femininity
Cultural – the video draws on stereotypes/cliches of teen movies – jock, cheerleader, geek, girl next door, prom, etc.
Postmodern approach - Pastiche Frederic Jameson argues that postmodern texts
are characterised by pastiche. A pastiche is an imitation of another genre or
text. Jameson argues that "Pastiche is...the imitation
of a peculiar or unique, idiosyncratic style, the wearing of a linguistic mask, speech in a dead language.”
Linda Hutcheon disagrees with this view arguing that postmodern texts use pastiche in a knowing way acknowledging the constructed nature of representation.
Does the cliched nature of the video act as a critique of the values it promotes?
Applying Narrative Theory
In pairs analyse one of your AS or A2 coursework products using narrative theories.
Work through either theoretical approach and consider how useful you find them.
How useful is narrative theory? Consider how useful you think each of
the following perspectives is: Propp Barthes Todorov Levi-Strauss Postmodern Theory