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Genre Criticism. What is a genre? Genre means type or category It is generally seen as a fusion of semantic (stylistic) and syntactic (substantive) features that (over time) become conventional to the audience. Genre Criticism. Television Genre

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genre criticism
Genre Criticism
  • What is a genre?
    • Genre means type or category
    • It is generally seen as a fusion of semantic (stylistic) and syntactic (substantive) features that (over time) become conventional to the audience.
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Genre Criticism
  • Television Genre
    • A type or category of program which shares a set of characteristics with other TV programs in that category
      • Law and Order is one type of crime drama
      • Without A Trace is one type of crime drama

Are they the same or different genre?

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Genre Criticism
  • Characteristics of genres
    • Genres can be both state and dynamic
    • Members of the genre share conventions (similar features) with other members of the genre, but may have unique features that separate them
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Genre Criticism
  • Why do genres survive?
    • Audience needs: escapism from everyday routines and the boredom associated with day-to-day living
    • Popular genre texts resolve tensions by being both predictable and innovative (e.g 24)
    • Media institutions needs: economic need to draw large audiences weekly to keep advertisers happy
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Genre Criticism
  • Foundation of Genre Theory
    • Rhetorical roots can be traced to Aristotle (330 BC) - Genres became solidified into rules for style and form (e.g. poetry, drama, song)
    • 18th Century - revolt against such constraints created new forms (e.g. novel)
    • Electronic media borrowed from traditional forms and created new ones (e.g. radio soap opera)
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Genre Criticism
  • Foundation of Genre Theory
    • Chicago school of criticism - renewed interest in how genres shape individual artist’s work and vice-versa.
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Genre Criticism
  • Film and Radio Roots of Genre TV
    • Film - success of particular films led to making more of the same, discovery that audiences liked genre films
    • ‘Classic’ Hollywood era production studios made many genre films that European filmmakers and critics dubbed Hollywood a ‘factory.’
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Genre Criticism
  • Film and Radio Roots of Genre TV
    • Radio networks learned the value of genres in raising audience expectations
    • The need for weekly programming radio turned to two forms
      • Serial narratives (installment stories -borrowed from magazines - soap operas)
      • Series narratives (independent episodic adventures of a regular cast of characters (crime drama -Dragnet)
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Genre Criticism
  • Film and Radio Roots of Genre TV
    • Game shows - contestants would compete for prizes and fame
    • Situation Comedies - regular characters thrust into humorous situations weekly
    • Vaudeville - entertainment/ variety shows
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Genre Criticism
  • TV Networks Adapt the new medium
    • Since TV nets were the Radio nets, they initially developed TV shows that mirrored radio shows
      • Situation comedies
      • Crime Dramas
      • Variety and Game shows
      • Soap operas
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Genre Criticism
  • Three Approaches to Genre Analysis
    • Aesthetic approaches
      • Focus on formal, stylistic features and innovations
      • Typically looks at narrative structures and ignores other syntactic features
      • Usually provides limited insight into the genre’s rhetorical force
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Genre Criticism
  • Three Approaches to Genre Analysis
    • Ritual approaches
      • Focus on underlying mythic, culture-typal themes
      • Often use semiotic/structural analysis
      • Use enduring or changing features of popular generic texts to explore cultural tensions, rules, roles and efficacy of social myths
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Genre Criticism
  • Three Approaches to Genre Analysis
    • Ideological approaches
      • Focus on how ideas, roles, norms that ‘naturalize’ current inequitable distribution of economic, social, political power and resources are expressed in text
      • Use semiotic/structural and ideological critical terms and concepts
      • Provide insight into how genre texts question or celebrate the social, political, economic or cultural status quo of society
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Genre Criticism
  • Reasons to do Genre Analysis
    • To compare and contrast two genres
    • To evaluate the quality of a particular member of genre
    • To trace the history of a genre
    • To examine the relationship between the genre and society’s dominant cultural ideologies
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Genre Criticism
  • Writing Genre Criticism
    • The Chicken- Egg, Empiricist- Idealist dilemma - the problem of how to know where to start
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Genre Criticism
  • Writing Genre Criticism
    • Deductive approach
      • Assumes the genre already exists
      • Used to answer questions about what genre a program belongs to, similarities and differences between genre texts, between styles, traces changes over time
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Genre Criticism
  • Writing Genre Criticism
    • Inductive approach
      • It proposes that a group of texts with some similarities might constitute a new genre
      • It is used to answer such questions as ‘What is this new program? Or ‘What features do this group of programs share?’
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Genre Criticism
  • Overarching statement
    • Regardless of vocabulary, a genre is a group of texts unified by a foundation of shared features that overtime have become accepted to form specific conventions within that type
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Genre Criticism
  • Different aspects of genre features that critics identify and analyze
    • Semantic (formal/ stylistic)
      • Character type
      • Location (geography, time, space)
      • Scene setting ( indoors/outdoors)
      • Characteristics of types of shots, camera work
      • Style of action
      • Editing
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Genre Criticism
  • Different aspects of genre features that critics identify and analyze
    • Syntax (substantive)
      • Narrative structure
      • Dialetic (recurring structure of paired opposition)
      • Recurring themes
      • Discourses (themes that are ideological or other)