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Media Theory Revision Guide

All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.




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Zombies as racial others?


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While Fabrice Gobert has not openly said that The Returned was a reflection of Syrian migration into France, it can be inferred from the series’ story arcs and the many similarities with Campillo’s 2004 film that the show reflects growing social discontent of the influx of migrants and asylum seekers coming to France in the early 2010s, most of whom arrived as a result of the Syrian civil war.

The Returned, as such, could be read as an allegorical commentary concerning the refugee crisis, with Pierre representing the voice of a traditional, Christian society that purposely rejects the zombie/immigrant others, driving them out of their town at the end of season one to preserve the purity of the Annecy - a series setting that constructs a picturesque and rurally conservative ideal.

Arguably, the zombie’s treatment mirrors the growing resentment of the many migrant camps that began to form at the edges of French cities during the period, and of the growing perception by mainstream France that those immigrant camps were a lawless threat to the social stability of their country.


A simplified representation of a social group, constructed by exaggerating physical traits or behaviours. Stereotypes are problematic because they are easily internalised by audiences.

Media terminology used

Racial otherness

The demonising of racial groups by society and their subsequent construction by the media as villainous or undesirable.

Idealised depiction

A media representation that constructs a perfected image of something or someone. Costuming. hair or make-up, for example, might be highly to styles to create an ideal character.

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