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.
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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 –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?
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
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
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)
Genre Criticism Foundation of Genre Theory –Chicago school of criticism - renewed interest in how genres shape individual artist’s work and vice-versa.
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.’
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
Genre Criticism Writing Genre Criticism –The Chicken- Egg, Empiricist- Idealist dilemma - the problem of how to know where to start
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
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?’
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
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
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)