Thursday, 7 April 2016


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

OCR Q2 REPRESENTATIONS: How does your media product represent particular social groups?

- CIE Q1b 'how does it represent social groups or issues'

This is essentially practice for the first half of your exam.
You need to apply both elements of semiotics:
  • specific and precise denotation
  • analysis of possible connotations 

Kate: a clear vodcast with a transcript provided:

Poppy: vodcast and transcript; the key strength is a tight focus on how the choices reflected genre knowledge and there intended to reflect the desires and expectations of the target audience

Molly: blog post - combines analysis of the common categories with a character by character breakdown

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 film 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 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 Q2a, but might also be used here - see this post.
Nationality is also a major issue: this will impact on the commercial prospects of a film (setting, accents) as we have seen with Warp's movies and the likes of Mickybo and Me, including its chances of getting distribution beyond the 'home' market. This can be made plural by declaring it a co-production (which is common) and maybe including titles for state funding from, for example Screen Yorkshire, BFI, Film France, Irish Film Board, Film Fund Luxemborg. An American character/accent is generally considered as a boost to commercial prospects even if the actor isn't a star, while Hollywood increasingly casts a Chinese character to help tap into what will by 2020 at the latest be the world's biggest film market.

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.

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); suspicion of adults is common in teen dramas; 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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