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Research into the Genre Theory
The word genre means the category in which the product fits
into, and is the repetition and variation of familiar conventions.
It is used in the study of films and this helps them to be easily
categorised. Genre benefits both audience and institutions to
make decisions about what they want to see and also what to
make to interest people. Genre theory is important as it is a
good way to communicate meanings in the film and it makes
the information which is shown in the films more controllable. It
makes the characters and their actions more predictable and
genres are used to create meaning. It is very easy to market a
„genre‟ film as you can appeal to a certain target audience and
the audience know what to expect. Sometimes, works can fit
into multiple genres by the concept of borrowing and
recombining these conventions. Genres are formed by
conventions which can change over time as new genres are
Charaudeau and Maingueneau – their theory states that genre
can be determined by four different analytic conceptualizations.
A texts genre may be determined by its:
• Linguistic function
• Formal traits
• Textual organisation
• Relation of communicative situation to formal and
organisational traits of the text
Jacques Derrida – Derrida articulates that individual texts
participate in, rather than belong to certain genres. He does this
by demonstrating that the „mark of genre‟ is not itself a member
of a genre or type. Thus, the very characteristic that signifies
genre defies classification.
“conventional definitions of genres tend to be based on the
notion that they constitute particular conventions of content
(such as themes or settings) and/or form (including
structure and style) which are shared by the texts which are
regarded as belonging to them”
“texts often exhibit the conventions of more than one
“the same text can belong to different genres in different
countries or times” – John Hartley.
Problems with Genre Classification
Theorist and critic Rick Altman (1999) listed what he found problematic
with genre classification – applying to mostly films but can be adapted
to magazines which I am creating.
• Genre is a useful category, because it bridges multiple concerns
• Genres are defined by the film industry and recognised by the mass
• Genres have clear, stable identities and borders
• Individual films belong wholly and permanently to a single genre
• Genres are transhistorical
• Genres undergo predictable development
• Genres are located in particular topics, structure and corpus
• Genre films share certain fundamental characteristics
• Genres have either a ritual or ideological function
• Genre critics are distanced from the practice of genre.