Representations of age How are the following represented in the media? Teenagers Old people Middle aged people (45 – 55)
What are the representations? How are they constructed?
How has Catherine Tate represented ‘Nan’? Is she stereotypical? Why? Why not? Look at her iconography. What genre of programme does she exist in? How does this affect her representation?
Your task In pairs, to research representation of age in your given medium/genre. Produce a presentation, including images/footage: saved to a USB stick. Make reference to semiotics (visual codes and audio codes if appropriate). Make reference to audience & audience theories.
The choices! Ooh! Soaps Adverts Magazines Films News Sitcoms Cartoons Comics Reality TV TV Drama
Representations of age What is the media (form and genre). How has the representation been constructed (visual and audio codes)? What reasons are there for the representation? How might the representation affect audience? Who produced the representation?
Reflective approach This approach suggests that representations are a direct reflection of reality.
Intentional Approach This suggests that producers shape reality through representation and suggests an audience’s understanding of the world is directed by those representations.
Constructionist Approach This is a mixture! It accepts that representations construct meaning, but that this meaning is understood through reference to reality and the audience’s own ability to analyse, accept and reject.
Constructionists believe: Representation is a mixture of: The actual thing being represented The VALs of the people/institutions constructing the representation The reaction of the individual member of the audience (and their VALs) The context of the society in which the representation is taking place
Ideology Media texts convey ideological messages: Ideology is a system of ideas, values and beliefs promoted by dominant groups to reinforce their power (eg governments, state institutions, corporations).
Karl Marx Developed the concept in 1900s. Analysed the way those in power protected their interests by representing their privileged position as being natural. Consider how dominant ideologies are reinforced/challenged by media texts.
Positive/negative representations Are negative representations responsible for the prejudicial treatment of a particular group? Can negative representations be challenged by positive ones? If representations do affect the way in which we think about particular groups, what does that suggest about the media audience?
Dominant representation of young people Yobbish/anti-social behaviour Gang culture Disrespect Drink and drugs Teen pregnancies Which media texts perpetuate this image?
Eastenders: Martin Fowler First character to be born in the programme. Stereotypical youth from many news stories. Anti-social behaviour with gangs Teenage, unmarried father Prison sentence for manslaughter Continued criminal behaviour upon release
Stanley Cohen (1972) Studied youth groups in 1960s. A moral panic occurs when society sees itself threatened by the values and activities of a group who are stigmatised as deviant and seen as threatening to mainstream society’s values, ideologies and /or way of life. Mods & Rockers (1960s), football hooligans, muggers, vandals, mobile-phone snatchers...
Working class males Represented as yobs. Stuart Hall (1978) argues that the negative representation of young people is deliberate as it justifies social control by authority figures such as the police and government. The media has a key role in this ‘social production’ of news.
From media text to legislation Occurrence of deviant act or social phenomenon. Act or problem widely reported in media: news outlets; internet chat rooms; fictional narratives; video games… Call for government control either from legislation/policy initiatives or the more vigilant operation of already existing social controls.
Jamie Bulger No evidence was presented that either boy had watched ‘Child’s Play 3’. The judge made the connection and this was picked up by the tabloid press. It led to a change in the law so the BBFC now has to take into account ‘the influence’ of videos as well as their content.