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AQA Media Studies MEST3 Identities and the Media British National Identity

Rob Miller | Friday September 12, 2014

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, AQA A2, Collective Identity, National Identity, Key Concepts, Ideology, Representation & Stereotyping, Hot Entries, Theory, Representation Theory

With AQA’s new ‘Identities’ topic, it is worth stressing from the outset the similarities and differences with Representations in the Media – the use of representation is a process for constructing identity and in this regard, a representation or representations can lead to a collective identity. This resource attempts to explore the concepts of ‘Britishness’ or British National Identity by studying a range of media texts, across a number of media platforms but also exploring audience consumption. It is important to reference the impact of technology on Identities but moving forward, also the ideological functions of identity e.g. from multicultural British National Identity to patriotic sporting identity to nationalism and other extreme ideological viewpoints.

Within this notion of identity it is also worth referencing self-representation and the role of the individual in society – someone who rejects national identity for example, someone who is marginalised or who marginalises themself, someone who embraces a European identity in favour of a British identity or someone who is in favour of Scottish independence and devolution, contemporary as of writing in early September. This is reflected by David Gauntlett’s much quoted sound bite: “Identity is complicated, everyone’s got one” suggesting a unified British identity in many ways can be seen as abstract. Britain is a diverse and pluralistic country and this is reflected by media representations; as Jill Nelmes suggested in ‘An Introduction to Film Studies’: “it is impossible to talk about national identity without referencing regional identities, films that explores a range of disparate identities, genres and movements”.

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Audiences of media texts have a heightened role to play in the construction of identity – in the Daily Mail, using Stuart Hall’s basic, but helpful framework audiences share in the dominant,...

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