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Media Theory Revision Guide

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




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Daily Mirror

Cultural codes


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The Mirror front cover also uses referential or cultural codes in order to construct meaning: the use of the Statue of Liberty requires readers to hold a certain degree of information regarding the symbolism of this iconic American monument. 

The Statue of Liberty represents freedom, liberal democracy, political tolerance and the open immigration policy that has historically been practised by the United States. 

The presentation of this symbol is subverted through its ashamed pose, the gesture codes of which convey to the reader the dangers that Trump presents to long-standing libertarian American values.

Cultural codes

Are elements that require external information or cultural knowledge to be decoded. Cultural codes, for example, might require scientific or religious knowledge for their meanings to be fully understood.

Media terminology used

Gesture codes

Refer to stylised body actions that relate coded meanings to their readers. A thumbs up gesture for instance means 'I'm okay' - holding our hands in the air suggests submission.

Subversive representation

A representation that challenges a set of social ideas. van Zoonen calls upon women to create subversive representations of femininity to undermine patriarchal ideologies.

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