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Chapter 6

MediaMaking Grossberg Chapter 6 Outline

3 Pages
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Department
Communication Studies
Course Code
COMN 1000
Professor
Joan Steigerwald

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Description
The Interpretation of Meaning Considering ways to analyze and interpret the messages or texts of the media in all their diverse forms. The Nature of Interpretation Because interpretations of a text itself can be a complicated task, one someone decides what a text means; at least 3 different questions must have already been answered. 1. What is the text to be interpreted? a. As simple as a text may appear, it is actually quite complicated b. There are a set of relations that a text may have (e.g. relation to audience, relation to media, relation to history of pop culture, etc.) c. Every text is an intertext, meaning it consists connections to hundreds of other different texts 2. Why have we turned to this text? a. People are not always looking for the same thing or asking the same questions b. People often look for behavior and meaning in a text c. Commonly, when interpreting a text, one may look for a meaning that is not obvious to everyone 3. How does a text communicate? a. Sometimes we are not looking for its meaning but have already decided what the meaning of the text is b. Question becomes more of how the text communicates than what it does Interpretation and the Author  People may think that a text means only what the author intended it to mean, no more no less. This is actually false  Accepting the text as the author’s “intent” may lead you to not understand the text at all  Most think that understanding a text is to become one with the author  Important question – why does the text have to have one meaning, that being the author having the last say?  Usually, it is hard to pinpoint the real author of a given text. Ex: who is the real author of a film – the director, screenwriter, producer, or cinematographer? o Different contributors to the film may have had different perspectives or goals for the turnout o Same with music – some musicians do not write the songs, meaning the song could not have any relation to the singer at all Techniques of Interpretation  Techniques that are focused on the encoded meanings  Just because the author’s meaning of the text is not the meaning of the text, that does not mean any interpretation of the text is correct or valid  Most people look for themes and symbols that are most obvious (love, war, social reposibility), however, a theme can be interpreted differently within a text  Another technique could be looking at the symbols that organize and give shape to the text themselves e.g. symbols of Christianity in Madonna and U2’s music  The meaning of the text becomes the meaning of the symbol  However, the problem with this is that they are largely intuitive o Offer little in the way of new insights into how the text is actually constructing meanings into range of possible encoded meanings within the text o Both depend on prior assumptions  It is important to try to get beyond such intuitive approaches to interpretation Narrative Analysis Narratives are the stories people tell either directly or indirectly, stories about themselves and their world, who they are and where they came from. It also tells people about their possible futures and forms of social relationships they value. o Story o Discourse o Time Genre Theory  Class of texts that have something in common – interpret texts based on their genre  Three theories of meaning when defining genre
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