Media Text & Society Values

For this Unit of work we have to study a DISCOURSE and select a TIME and PLACE. Each Media teacher has the opportunity to select the classes Discourse and Time & Place that they wish to study. Therefore every school will be completing something different. This Unit is PART B on your end of year Media Exam.


A Discourse is an abstract concept. It is the product of a broader social, political and economic formation. A discourse runs over a period of time. For example; Family / Religion / Science.

A Social Value is an attitude towards a discourse that a society has at a particular time & place. They remain within the society for a number of years and may change slowly over time.

A Social Issue is linked to a specific place and time. Social issues can be seen within the fabric of a society. They can be seen as an expression of discourse or social value.


To the right you have access to the following data:

POWERPOINT - This will be explained in class and provides you will examples and clarity around the Discourse and Social Values that you will be studying for this Unit.

SAC & EXAM examples - This booklets reveals outstanding responses to past SAC & EXAM questions on this Unit.

Discourse & Social Values

Discourse refers to the creation of meaning through the interrelationship of texts, audiences and media organisations in society. A discourse is like an ongoing discussion about an idea or social issue. A discourse is an abstract word, therefore can be tricky to define. In VCE Media, you will be studying how a particular discourse or social issue and how values related to this discourse are reflected in a range of media texts. Many schools choose to study television programs or films. You might also look at a range of other representations, such as print or television advertisements. Although schools use different text, your task remains the same: Show an understanding of the discourse or social issue, how it is represented in a range of media texts and how these representations reflect values in society.

Social Values are created according to their Time & Place. Therefore they are never static. They are always changing. All media texts are constructed. As a result, they often reflect social values – the views, attitudes and beliefs – of the period in which they are produced.

A dominant value is just that. The dominant social value held by the majority of people living in the place where the social value exists.

When a new social value emerges against or alongside a dominant social value, it is called an emerging social value.

An oppositional social value is strongly positioned against dominant social values and discourses.

When writing about your text, it is important to identify the production context. Who made the text? When was it created? What country was it made in? The text’s time and place of production can help us understand the social values that the text embodies.


Discourse: Gender roles in Family
Why: Gender Roles in the Family
This is very easy to identify in Media text.

Time: 1990 - 2010
Why: 1990 to 2010
From this time period there was a huge shift in gender roles within the family structure. Very evident in media text.

Place: America
Why: America
We watch and follow this Country when it comes to our own social values. Also the students can easily identify the text shown in the classroom.

Sentence stems……

Representations within a text usually reflect the social environment in which the production was made, in particular, specific character roles and their positions within the text….

Media texts reflect the values of society at the time and place of their production, for example, through depiction of characters/individuals, institutions, behaviour, social issues, objects and or/social reactions…

A media text can be explored for the way that reflects, or has been influenced by society’s values of the period and place of its production…

Media texts are generally shaped by attitudes held in place and at the time of the text’s production. This can be seen in various representations in a text…

The values of society can influence the fate of various characters in a narrative. At the end, a ‘good’ or ‘virtuous’ character can be rewarded, perhaps by finding a loving partner. A ‘bad’ character may be punished in different ways. What happens within the narrative may reflect the dominant values of society…

A media text may reflect the period in which it was produced by the way that it generally supports the values of the time. However, a text can also challenge some of the dominant values, or support oppositional values…

An analysis of any media text – such as film, a magazine, a radio program, a television program, or even an advertising campaign can often be very revealing about the society in which that text was produced…

The Back Up Plan - 2010

Thelma & Louise - 1991

Friends Pilot Episode - 1994

Friends Final Episode - 2004

Life as we know it - 2010

The new normal - 2012

Battleship Game - 1968

Bewitched - 1964 to 1972

The Back-Up Plan – 2010 America

“Fall in love, Get married, Have a baby – Not necessarily in that order”

Jennifer Lopez stars as Zoe, a single New Yorker who dreams of meeting Mr Right, having a baby and living happily ever after. But after a string of Mr Wrongs, Zoe commits to her ‘back up plan’. An appointment with a specialist and solo flight into motherhood.

Director: Alan Poul
Cast: Jennifer Lopez & Alex O'Loughlin