What future for interpretive work in Film and Media Studies?

Durant, Alan (2000) What future for interpretive work in Film and Media Studies? Screen: the Journal of the Society for Education in Film and Television, 41 (1). pp. 7-17. ISSN 0036-9543

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Abstract

Beginning with the commonplace that acts of interpreting individual films and other media works are central to media studies, this article argues that if such accounts are to be presented as interesting, or as the principal evidence for theoretical positions, then more serious engagement with mechanisms involved in meaning production is needed than is common in the field. The author traces interpretive approaches in media studies from various forms of textual determinism (e.g. approaches associated with ‘Screen theory’) through to reader-response criticism, appeals to interpretive communities, and New Audience Studies. Core issues in ascribing meaning to texts are outlined, in belated celebration of the detailed critique of film interpretation in David Bordwell’s often overlooked 'Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema' (1989). Proposing ways in which greater interpretive reflexiveness can be developed, the article concludes by discussing difficulties with the idea of ‘exemplary readings’: readings which are simultaneously exceptional or outstanding and yet at the same time examples of interpretive processes which are interesting precisely because they are assumed to be followed by any average or ordinary reader.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Citations on ISI Web of Science:1
ID Code:8186
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Deposited On:13 Oct 2011 07:50
Last Modified:30 Jul 2014 12:48

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