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Genre Theory for A2 Media Studies

Caroline Bagshaw | Wednesday September 09, 2009

Categories: A Level, AQA A Level, Key Concepts, Genre, Theory, Genre Theory

Practical ways to study the concept of genre.

The new specifications for A-level (AQA) doesn’t require the study of genre explicitly at A/S Level.  However, at A2 the Specification suggests that candidates could consider Genre Theories as part of their understanding of why and how texts are created as they are.

For the research element of the MEST 4 study, it may well be that students wish to study a particular genre.

For example, a consideration of the enduring nature of some genres, (perhaps TV Hospital Dramas, or Cop Shows) could be a fruitful area of investigation.

This will involve them in a close study of their chosen genre, and a need to understand the issues and debates around genre as well as demonstrating their ability to apply some genre theory to their study.

Some of the following activities are intended for class / group work; others are more relevant to independent study.  All are intended to give practical ways to approaching the concept of genre and the application of Genre Theory which can be accessed by students with a range of abilities.


Genre = French for “type?.  In Media Studies, we see this as a way of categorising our media into types of texts.  For example, in film we may talk about Action, Horror or Westerns.  In TV we have costume drama; soap opera; sitcom; documentary.  Each of these categories carries meaning to an audience, as texts within a particular category share similarities in various elements from which they are constructed.  One way to build on work done with Key Concepts in A/S is to first consider these types and their similarities via the key concepts.

Genre and Narrative

Narrative is a key element to establishing genre.

Activity: Either individually or in pairs, create a 6-8 scene storyboard for the opening few minutes of a horror film, focusing on the events that happen and the order they happen in.  Compare your storyboard with that of your colleagues.

You may well have...

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