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AQA Media Studies MEST3 Identities and the Media Exemplar

Rob Miller | Thursday March 05, 2015

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, AQA A2, Collective Identity, National Identity, Hot Entries, Admin, Staffroom, Exemplar Materials

Does the Media Control the Construction of Identity?

Exemplar A Grade Essay 40/48 (more on the role of digital media needed)

Before answering this question, the concept of identity needs to be explained – I will be focusing on British National Identity but identities and the media can include self representation (how British you perceive yourself), collective identity in terms of how Britishness can be categorised in homogenous ways, dominant and marginalised representations of British national identity but also audience responses to identity suggesting a shared ideology. A well-known David Gauntlett quotation suggested: “Identity is complicated, everyone’s got one? signposting a less hegemonic approach to identity in favour of more fragmented, individualistic representations.

Schools, for a relatively short period of time have been under instruction from the Department for Education to promote British values – these include democracy, the rule of law, liberty, respect and tolerance. The topic of British National Identity is much discussed and scrutinised, but no better illustrated than from within the media. The Daily Mail is a mid market Tabloid that promotes what is seen to be more traditional British values while satirist Charlie Brooker promotes a more diverse brand. Within political parties there exists a diverse brand of British National Identity while sitcoms like Outnumbered presents audiences with a not untypical, middle class family unit and at the same time Al Murray: Pub Landlord offers deeply ironic representations. As Zygmunt Bauman suggests, this conflict as a reflection of identity is problematic.

British film has been obsessed for many years with representation of British National Identity, in part through representations of social class but as Jill Nelmes argues, it is impossible to talk about British National Identity in film without focus on regional identity – films like Fish Tank (2009) and Selfish...

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