Media Representation
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Media Representation

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This is a document I produced to go on my A2 coursework blog. It gives a brief description/definition of media representation.

This is a document I produced to go on my A2 coursework blog. It gives a brief description/definition of media representation.

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    Media Representation Media Representation Document Transcript

    • Media – Representation Media representations are the ways in which the media portrays particular groups, communities, experiences, ideas, or topics from a particular ideological or value perspective. Rather than the media simply mirroring or reflecting “reality”, they can actually serve to “re-present” or create a new reality. - Representation refers to the construction in any medium (epically 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. Representation is a process. For instance, in relation to the key markers of identity – class, age, gender and ethnicity, representation involves not only how identities are represented (or constructed) within the text but also how they are constructed in the processes of production and reception by people whose identities are also differently marked in relation to such demographic factors. Consider Laura Mulvey’s “the gaze” theory(1975). How do men look at women? How do women look at men? How do women look at women? And how do women look at themselves?
    • A key study of representation concern is with the way in which representations are made to seem ‘natural’. Semiotics and content analysis are the main methods of formal analysis or representation. - Semiotics foregrounds the process of representation. - Reality is always represented – what we treat as ‘direct’ experience is ‘mediated’ by perceptual codes. Representation involves the ‘construction of reality’. All texts, however ‘realistic’ they may be, are constructed re-presentations rather than transparent reflections, recordings or reproduction of an already pre-existing reality. - Representations require interpretation – we make judgements about them, chose whether to passively receive or challenge the re-constructed reality given to us. - Representation is unavoidably selective, foregrounding some things and back grounding others. Key Questions About Representation What is being represented? How is it represented? Using what codes and conventions? How is the representation made to seem ‘true’ or ‘natural’? What is foregrounded and back grounded? Whose representation is it? (Whose interests does it reflect?) At whom is the representation targeted? How do you know? How do people make sense of re-presentation? With what alternative representations could it be compared with? How does it differ? Who is the one constructing the re-presentation? Why is the concept of representation problematic? Comparisons with related representations within or across genres or media can be very fertile, as can comparisons with representations for other audiences. Every media form, from a home video to a glossy magazine, is a representation of someone's concept of existence, organised into a series of signs and symbols which are read by an audience. Therefore representation is a fluid, two-way process: producers position a text somewhere in relation to reality and audiences assess a text on its relationship to reality. The mediators (editors, producers, directors ect) interpret the world for audiences. The interpretation varies depending on the mediators own experience and background e.g. class, race, gender, education, age (demographics). Audience interpret media texts and analyse representations with the reference to their own backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.