The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies examines the theories, practices, and future of this fast-growing field. Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from popular music to digital technologies, from media ethics to advertising, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.
Chapter 21: Narrative and Genre
Narrative and Genre
The significance of narrative and genre for the study of contemporary media can hardly be overestimated. Both are means by which the world of human experience can be reconstructed, rearranged, and reimagined. As ways of organizing, framing, and directing experience and knowledge and as industrial tools, these categories have been central to film and electronic media since the beginnings of these forms of communication.
Although both concepts can and should be applied to the structures of meaning in strictly “informative” or rhetorical works such as news reports, documentary film and television, and advertisements, this chapter focuses primarily on the functions of narrative and genre in fictional works of film and television. When appropriate, however, attention will be focused on other significant ...