Media Studies

Media Studies (in secondary and Higher education): The academic study of the media (eg print media and journalism, moving image media such as film and television, popular music, computer games, and forms of online media such as virtual worlds, social media, and the ‘participatory internet’ in general). Like Film Studies, it contains specialisms such as textual studies, audience studies and studies of the political economy of media production. It is closely associated with Cultural Studies, especially in its strong focus on popular culture and social context. The history of Media Studies contains a loose tradition of textual analysis which has adopted various semiotic frameworks, most notably Roland Barthes’ analyses of magazines, literature, film and other cultural forms, developing (amongst other ideas) the concepts of denotative and connotative meanings from the linguist Hjelmslev. Multimodality theory continues and develops these ideas in many ways, extending the possibility of applying common principles of meaning-making across and between different media, such as books, films and computer games. For example, Rheindorff analyses the film Dirty Dancing from a Cultural Studies perspective, exploring representations of class and gender by exploring how the multimodal form of film in this case also subsumes the mode of dance (2004). Also looking at the film medium, in this case as a knowledge domain, Lindstrand et al. (2011) give three examples of how young filmmakers position themselves in the work with semiotic resources to construe different meanings in films. Elsewhere, Burn (2007) analyses, again from a Cultural Studies perspective, how coherence and cohesion in a boy’s computer game design articulate his preoccupation with horror games. In these examples multimodality theory provides an approach to text and discourse that complements contemporary theories of cultural convergence across different media.

Key references

Burn, A. & Parker, D. (2003)
Analysing Media Texts.
London: Continuum

Burn, A (2007)
‘The Case of Rebellion: researching multimodal texts’, in Lankshear, C, Knobel, M, Leu, D & Coiro, J, The Handbook of Research in New Literacies,
New York: Laurence Erlbaum, pp 149-177

Lindstrand, F., Frølunde, L., Gilje, Ø., Öhman-Gullberg, L. (2011)
“Interests in Motion: The Film Medium Through the Eyes and Lenses of Young Scandinavian Filmmakers”, in Fisherkeller, J, International Perspectives on Youth Media – Cultures of Production and Education. pp.211-227

Reindorff, M (2004)
“The multiple modes of Dirty Dancing: A cultural studies approach to multimodal discourse analysis,” in Ventola, E et al. (eds) Perspectives on Multimodality.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins BV.  pp.137-153