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  1. 1. Representation
  2. 2. What is representation?
  3. 3. What does it mean? • Remember the word = re – present (to re present something) • All media products re-present the real world to us; they show us one version of reality, not reality itself. • ‘THE CONSTRUCTION OF A REALITY’ • So, representation theory means thinking about how an institution represents people, places or objects to an audience.
  4. 4. What is representation? • How people/places/objects are represented or portrayed • Think of AS exam – it’s all about looking at representation of the MACRO by deconstructing the MICRO  (how representation is made by CAM SAM, MES, E, S) • Consider ‘stereotypes’ – Simplistic, second hand, false, rarely change or do slowly • Think about how ethnic minorities are represented in ‘border patrol’ shows vs drama series – very different! • How did you construct representation of people and places in your video?
  5. 5. Representation key points • Representations become familiar through constant re-use and come to feel 'natural' and unmediated. A key concern is the way in which representations are made to seem ‘natural’, despite the fact that they change over time. • Representation is unavoidably selective, foregrounding some things and backgrounding others. • Representations require interpretation – meaning is often subject to individual interpretation • Representation always involves 'the construction of reality' from a particular point of view • Systems of representation are the means by which the concerns of ideologies are framed to create ways of looking at texts; such value systems ‘position’ their subjects.
  6. 6. Revision book • Pg 14/15 • Pg 36/37 • Pg 100/101
  7. 7. Theorists/theories? Theorist Their theory explained
  8. 8. Stuart Hall (1980)(same as audience) • audience as active participants • All about encoding and decoding • producer does encoding ( constructs meaning through technical devices) • -audience do the decoding (interpreting the meaning) • quite often there is a difference between the producers intentions and the audience reads. Hall states the audience can interpret texts in different ways: 1) preferred reading - as producer intended 2) negotiated reading - a combination of what producer intended but some oppositional 3) oppositional reading - a reading/ interpretation from the audience which is the opposite to what the producer intended (because of their experience/knowledge) • The idea is that every spectator has their own personal experience and knowledge and are able to actively question or challenge a texts representation. Everyone's previous experience of media texts and experience of the world shapes their interpretations of texts. • OBVIOUS LINK TO REPRESENTATION – the meaning that audiences receive (do they understand your intended representations (intended meanings)
  9. 9. Dyer • Stereotypes are often used as a cultural shorthand when represented by the media. • In the media, stereotypes are often products of assumption and/or ‘brand summaries’ of groups • Therefore, stereotypes can brand groups (this can be good/bad) • Dyer had argued that stereotypes are only used to reinforce peoples differences and singling people out as this stereotype. • Dyer had also argued that stereotypes are used to represent peoples differences as natural. • EG: Stereotypes about youth represents that they are all wreck less and irresponsible - giving the brand of 'youth' to everyone.
  10. 10. Barthes • Denotation (literal meaning), connotation (associated meanings or symbolism) • Audiences interprets connotations from denotations of signs based on their own previous experience i.e. Colour red • Denotation: the colour itself • Connotation: love, passion, blood/murder
  11. 11. More Barthes (a bit complex) • Meaning includes both denotation and connotation. 'Denotation' tends to be described as the definitional, 'literal', 'obvious' or 'commonsense' meaning of a sign. The term 'connotation' is used to refer to the socio-cultural and 'personal' associations (ideological, emotional etc.) of the sign. These are typically related to the interpreter's class, age, gender, ethnicity and so on. Signs are more 'polysemic' - more open to interpretation - in their connotations than their denotations. • Barthes argued that in photography connotation can be (analytically) distinguished from denotation As Fiske puts it 'denotation is what is photographed, connotation is how it is photographed' • Related to connotation is what Roland Barthes refers to as myth. We usually associate myths with classical fables about the exploits of gods and heroes. But for Barthes myths were the dominant ideologies of our time. • Like metaphors, myths help us to make sense of our experiences within a culture. They express and serve to organize shared ways of conceptualizing something within a culture. Their function is to naturalize the cultural - in other words, to make dominant cultural and historical values, attitudes and beliefs seem entirely 'natural', 'normal', self-evident, timeless, obvious 'common-sense' - and thus objective and 'true' reflections of 'the way things are'. • It is possible to argue that all media representations relate to broader cultural myths and belief systems.
  12. 12. Fiske • Related to Barthes …. • 'denotation is what is photographed, connotation is how it is photographed‘ Example: • A female victim being killed • Shot in a high angle, with an effect makes it look…
  13. 13. Laura Mulvey (1975) • ‘THE MALE GAZE’ • ‘Male gaze’ is the idea that all spectators of mainstream cinema are positioned from a male point of view, positions the audience as male. • Camera gazes at the female on screen, frames the male character watching the female • Texts represent and encourage voyeurism & objectification of female characters – We watch the girl; – we see male watching the girl – We position ourselves within the text as a male objectively gazing at the female
  14. 14. More mulvey……. • Mulvey distinguishes between two modes of looking for the film spectator: voyeuristic and fetishistic – Voyeuristic looking involves a controlling gaze and Mulvey argues that this has associations with sadism: (getting pleasure from inflicting pain/humiliation/suffering on others) – i.e. watching a female stripper could inevitably lead the audience to change how they see her; they are watching her as though she knows you they controlling the situation, (for example, it could lead to them exploiting her and laughing at her) – i.e. you watch slasher horror films and look at the female characters by almost getting a pleasure from watching her get hurt (females are often the victims!) • Fetishistic looking, in contrast, involves turning a represented figure into a ‘fetish’ so it’s reassuring and not ‘dangerous’ – This builds up the physical beauty of the object, transforming it into something satisfying. – Fetishistic looking, she suggests, leads to over-valuation of the female image and to the cult of the female movie star. – i.e. we look at female bodies and look at them as objects of beauty; watching female strippers, the audience would look at her body and think it was beautiful – i.e. when we watch a horror film and we see the female victim, we appreciate her beauty and define her as beautiful from the way her body looks (SCOPOPPHILIA: the pleasure of watching other bodies) • Mulvey argues that the film spectator dithers between these two forms of looking
  15. 15. Gauntlett • “Identities are not ‘given’ but are constructed and negotiated (exchanged).” • i.e male magazines = social construction of masculinity (society forms the ideal of what a man should look like so therefore his representation is SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED. This changes depending on audience/context (ex time period or type of audience) – Male ideal different 50 years ago – Male ideal different within different cultures or social groups (ex straight/gay/etc)
  16. 16. Angie McRobbie • Similar to Gauntlett…. • Done through a study of teen girl magazines “a kind of false sisterhood that assumes a common definition of womanhood or girlhood” By having this bond with each other creates the illusion of the perfect woman/girl – that they ‘stick together’ – this makes defines a part of being female (when in actuality there is loads of complexities/facets to us!!!)
  17. 17. Paul Massaris • “Female models addressed to women appear to imply a male point of view” • Almost like they look down on them and view them from the perspective of males • “look how amazingly attractive I am” • (links to mulvey/gauntlett/mcrobbie)
  18. 18. Helen Mott (2009) • Representation of gender • Conducted research of representation of gender in Cbeebies programmes – Under representation of females and gender imbalance • More male narrators • More male lead characters • Females more peripheral characters/roles (not key to narrative/story)
  19. 19. Judith Butler • “Gender is what you do, not what you are” • Reinforcing Gauntlett's theory – gender is socially constructed • We define gender by our behaviours, not because we have female parts • i.e. girls chat at sleepovers, go shopping, etc
  20. 20. Theorists/theories? Theorist Their theory explained Hall Preffered, negotiated, oppositional meanings Dyer Stereotypes often brand groups - effects of stereotypes can groups appear to be accurate/natural and form assumptions of them Barthes denotation/connotation – connotations as ‘myths’ (dominate ideologies) Fiske Denotation – what photographed, connotation – how photographed Mulvey Male gaze – audience positioned as males who gaze/look Gauntlett Identities are not ‘given’ but constructed and negotiated McRobbie Sisterhood gives the illusion of ‘womanhood’ ‘ girlhood’ (forms ideologies about femaleness) Massaris Female models addressed to women appear to imply male POV Mott Under-representation of females in kids TV Butler Gender is what you do, not what you are
  21. 21. Revision notes Example 1 Hall Reinforce or challenge the theory? Dyer Barthes …
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