KEY CONCEPTS: GENRE, NARRATIVE, REPRESENTATION, AUDIENCE
If you think back to your Media Studies course at AS, you should realise just how important the key concepts proved to be in guiding you through your understanding of how media products are constructed as well as how they are used and interpreted. In this chapter we revisit some of these concepts in order that you can continue to apply them in your study. The difference between AS and A2 in relation to these concepts is a subtle but important one. At AS your main focus is the interpretation of media products in order to understand how they work and what they do. At A2, as we have suggested, ‘why’ becomes a much more important question than ‘how’ or ‘what’. So through careful application of the key concepts, not only to analysis of texts but also to issues and debates, you should be able to explore in a meaningful way just why media products are the way they are. What are the pressures and protocols that determine their nature? How far is genre or format a factor? Do narrative structures play an influential role in deciding what a media product looks like or sounds like? How far are issues of representation and ultimately ideology seminal in determining the nature of products? To what degree do audiences have an impact on the shape and nature of a product? In this chapter we hope you will find some of the answers to these questions.