In this context, a discussion of Narrative theory is essential. When Vladimir Propp proposed the idea of Narrative theory by identifying and correlating common aspects of the Russian narrative prose, its relevance was not immediately known. But after further analysis and research by French high Structuralists such as Claude Bremond, Tzvetan Todorov and A.J.Greimas, it has become quite clear that the application of Narrative theory is valid across many genres of mass discourse. Of course, the list of functions identified by Propp in a story narrative is different in other genres. The discovery of Narrative theory is a double-edged sword. It could be used in a constructive way for the greater common good or it could be abused by those in power to further their own interests. Politicians and Business Executives have already appropriated it to aid their political careers and promotional campaigns respectively. Some studies have already indicated how the education system is vulnerable to the misapplication of Narrative theory (Zigo; 2001: 62).
Narrative theories put forward numerous unifying frameworks with which analysts can investigate the structure of the mass media environment, specifically in areas that are usually neglected in academia, such as “the complex ways that narrative attends to the cultural construction of time, space, and memory” (Voithofer ; 2004 : 48). A persuasive narrative is one which also has the capacity to create a dominant sense of place and time: two ingredients that are highly significant as the distinctions between real and virtual time and space become increasingly vague. The following passage elaborates on the key relationships within its theoretical framework.
“To fully develop the theoretical foundations of critical narrative theory it is important to discuss the evolution of Narratology in mass media. Media theories of narrative derived from film and television theorize modern narratives that engage multiple media and are more splintered and more fully theorize learning through the nonlinear connections of hypermedia in a post-modern context. Narrative theories are particularly instructive in describing how different media-based narratives work in inter-textual relationships to construct frameworks for meaning making” (Voithofer ; 2004 : 48).
The other drawback with the information distribution systems in place currently is their submission to capitalist market forces. Britain has a long tradition of scientific inquiry with such heroes in the past as Charles Darwin and Sir Issac Newton. But the way in which institutions for scientific understanding are sold over to show business production houses is a very sad development. A case in point is the London Planetarium. One of the biggest and technologically advanced “space theatres” in the country had been handed over to a celebrity light show company. The reason for this move: lack of profits. Tussauds, which owns the planetarium, had apparently decided that a few more pounds in their coffers is preferable than an enlightened Britain. Such is the abject state of entertainment based mass media and its subordination to a global, capitalist marketplace. It is all the more alarming when we consider the fact that teaching of sciences in general is in danger of dying out in British schools, with the number of pupils taking A-levels in the subject decreasing by 38 per cent since 1990, a problem made worse by paucity in qualified teachers.
Cashmore, Ellis, Celebrity Culture (Key Ideas), Routledge, published in 2006, 192 pages.
Fiske, John, Media Matters: Race & Gender in U.S. Politics., University of Minnesota Press; Revised edition (March 1996), 304 pages.
Osborne, J. W. (2007). Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain. CLIO, 36(3), 462+