Media narratives and ideology

Media narratives and ideology

Unit 3 Media
narrative and ideology
Ideology and institutions

What is an ideology?

An ideology is a system of values and assumptions used to make sense of the world.
  • This way of seeing the world, seems normal, or ‘true’ to all those that sit in it.
  • Ideologies are all encompassing – everything in society includes these values and assumptions.
  • This includes the construction of media narratives.
  • Some say that dominant ideologies (ones held by majority of people) hold power structures within them.

Example Ideology and values that sit within it


How ideologies shape media narratives

Watch this episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, what is the moral of the story? Then research when and where it was made and why it might have this value within in it.

There are three main ways that ideologies shape media narratives:

  1. Through representations within the product – think about how certain characters are represented. Is it done in a positive or negative way?
  2. Through Point of View – whose story gets told is often a powerful influence of ideology
  3. Through story conventions – what the conflict of the narrative is, and how it finally gets resolved.

Generally filmmakers need to create media products that are of the ideologies of the time – most of the time media products will adhere to current dominant ideologies.

  • Producers live in these ideological contexts themselves and can find it hard to see outside it themselves
  • Media products just wouldn’t get produced or distributed by big Hollywood studios without a big audience
  • Audiences just wouldn’t accept films that went too far out of expected ideological norms.


  • Media narratives can implicitly or explicitly comment on, develop or reject ideologies
  • How the audience also reads the media product can help frame these ideologies – audiences may discuss films under certain ideological ideas that the producer hadn’t explicitly considered
  • This is especially true of current day audiences looking at older film products.

Worksheets / Resources

media narratives and ideology 1.pptx64034.6KB
✍️ Ideology Table.docx572.6KB