A text is a unit of meaning for interpretation and understanding. As such, most things are (or could be treated as) texts. Within media studies, a text could be a TV program, film, video game, website, book, song, podcast, newspaper article, tweet, or app. Texts matter because they are bearers of communication and movers of meaning. Texts can inspire and delight, or disgust and disappoint, but more importantly they intervene in the world and into culture, introducing new ideas, or variously attacking or reinforcing old ones. Textual analysis has long been a primary mode of “doing” media studies, as scholars seek to ascertain what a text means, how it means (what techniques are used to convey meaning), and what its themes, messages, and explicit and implicit assumptions aim to accomplish.

All of this is simple and reasonably unobjectionable. Where texts and textual analysis become tricky is in their connections to …

This essay may be found on page 196 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay