Key terms

Topics: Sociology, Ideology, Culture Pages: 28 (7788 words) Published: April 30, 2014
Teacher Resource Bank

GCE Communication and Culture
Other Guidance:
• A2 Key Terms

Copyright © 2009 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (company number 3644723) and a registered charity (registered charity number 1073334). Registered address: AQA, Devas Street, Manchester M15 6EX. Dr Michael Cresswell, Director General.

Teacher Resource Bank / GCE Communication and Culture / Other Guidance: A2 Key Terms / Version 1.0

The following constitutes a glossary of ‘Essential’ and ‘Useful’ terms to be used with the Communication and Culture specification (A2). In other words it should be read as an addendum to the description of A2 content. It is intended to provide clarification and encouragement to teachers and students alike while at the same time confirming the flexibility that consciously exists within the content of the AS course. This is a slightly different list to those provided for AS; there are significantly fewer terms, presented, in the main, in significantly greater detail. This may in itself say something about the differences between AS ‘introductions’ and A2 ‘developments’. Here the ‘essential’ list is defined by the specification: Key Concepts and Theoretical Perspectives. All else is ‘useful’; a list that will likely be added to on a year by year basis. These then, as in the AS, are subject specific terms which help to define the scope of the specification but would not be used without clarification in a formal assessment. They are better seen as an extended toolkit rather than a more detailed course content list.

There are three lists which address the explicit content areas for A2, ranging from ‘Key Concept’ to ‘Cultural Sites’, followed by a small number of terms that seem to fit neither list. We assume AS content is a basis for A2 development (especially the Toolkits and Key Concepts).

a. Key Concepts: (Essential)
It is well worth rehearsing the AS set
Codes: meaning systems consisting of signs. Signs are anything that has the potential to generate meaning, to signify. When a sign has generated meaning, it is said to have achieved signification. This is fundamental to the semiotic approach to the study of communication.

Communication: a process through which meanings are exchanged. Context: the situation within which communication takes place. Culture: a particular way of life which expresses certain meanings and values. Identity: the sense we have of ourselves, which we then ‘represent’ ‘elsewhere’: a person’s social meaning.

Power: control and influence over other people and their actions. Representation: the construction in any medium (especially the mass media) of aspects of ‘reality’ such as people, places, objects, events, cultural identities and other abstract concepts. Such representations may be in speech or writing as well as still or moving pictures. (Daniel Chandler’s definition).

Value: the worth, importance, or usefulness of something to somebody. To which we add, with the permission of Routledge, this slightly longer set of A2 concept clarifications (taken from Bennett & Slater, A2 Communication and Culture: the Essential Introduction, Routledge (November 2009)).


Copyright © 2009 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Bennett P. & Slater J., A2 Communication and Culture: The Essential Introduction (Routledge 2009)


Teacher Resource Bank / GCE Communication and Culture / Other Guidance: A2 Key Terms / Version 1.0

In common with quite a few of the specialist terms we use in Communication and Culture, ideology presents us with some problems because it is used in so many different ways by different writers. This makes it impossible for us to offer a simple all-purpose definition. Instead, we have to consider several different meanings, although we can agree that ideology is ‘concerned with...
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