A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

8

Mediated fiction

Peter Larsen
• a description of quantitative studies of representation in media fiction
formal studies in the semiotic tradition, including shot-to-shot analyses of film
narrative studies and models, applied across media types
• a presentation of genre analysis as a middle range, connecting text and context
• a discussion of sound as an under-researched aspects of media ‘texts’
The Big Sleep (1946) as the main analytical example.

INTRODUCTION

The word ‘text’ is derived from the Latin verb texo, meaning to weave or twine together, and to construct or build something. The Latin noun textum means woven cloth or fabric, but was also used to denote speech and writing. A written or spoken text, then, is like a woven cloth - a construction of meaning made out of words.

Since the 1960s, ‘text’1 has been used as a general term covering diverse phenomena such as music, still images, films, and so on, in addition to written and spoken language. The underlying argument is that all these means of expression are semantic constructions - ‘fabrics’ of signs - and most of them are meant to be ‘read’ in linear, temporal sequences. Such constructions may be described and analyzed by analogy to a verbal text, drawing on concepts, models, and procedures that were developed within disciplines and fields like linguistics, semiotics, and literary studies. Analyses of ‘texts’ in this broad sense form a central part of media studies. Whether such analyses are carried out as studies of single texts or important textual genres, or as part of projects studying media reception and media institutions, the central concern is with questions of meaning and interpretation. The point of departure is the texts themselves - their structure and their content.

Like any other form of analysis, textual analysis examines a given object - a text or a group of texts - as closely and as systematically as possible in order to answer specific research questions. These questions can lead to two basic types of textual analysis: one focused on generalities, the other on particulars. The first describes recurrent, typical features in order to establish textual models or prototypes. The second examines the texts in question as isolated occurrences with reference to their specificities.2 Obviously, there are both transitional variants and logical connections between the two types. In practice, generalities are always established through the study of particulars,

1 texts as a general category - Chapter 2, p. 28

2 generalities and particulars - theory of science, Chapter 15, p. 256

-117-

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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