Defining Representation and Mediation “Representation is a process of mediation” Discuss
Representation Define what representation is1. To represent something is to describe or depict it, to call it up in mind by description or portrayal• The media are in the business of describing things to us• They represent people and types of people to us so that we end up feeling that we know what they are like• We are often so used to this, that we take these kinds of representations for granted
Representation Define what representation is2. To represent also means to symbolise or stand for• A representation is something that symbolises something else. Often there will be ideological values attached to this• Sometimes individuals are used by the media to stand for a group of people or whole type of people
Representation is…• The constructed and mediated presentation of people, things, ideas, places• Representation is the process by which the media present the ‘real world’• Most importantly to represent is to ‘re- present’
You can represent…• Individuals – Jade Goody (Big Brother, 2007)• Groups – Teenagers• Places – New York• Nations – Iran• Ideas – Religion/ the family• Regions/Location – North of England
What are important questions to ask?• WHO or WHAT is being represented?• HOW is the representation created?• WHO has created the representation?• WHY is the representation created in that way? What is the intention?• WHAT is the effect of the representation?
• All of these conflicts were based on taboos, on the impossibility of co-existence, on a difference that separates rather than unites. By acknowledging these differences and prohibitions, the brand appeared more involved. It took sides, rather than presenting a simple “objective” portrayal of the world; it made a commitment to foster the cohabitation of opposites, to break down barriers and ensure dialogue. Benetton had a plan: to integrate opposites, to unite differences under a single flag, the flag of its own logo.
How are representations constructed?• Any representation is a mixture of:1. The thing itself2. The opinions of the people doing the representation*3. The reaction of the individual to the representation*4. The context of the society in which the representation is taking place*
So what’s mediation?• A representation is the final product after all of the decisions have been made.• Meaning is made in the construction of the representation and the combination of all the choices coming together (MEDIATION) in order for the audience to ‘read’ and interpret the information provided*• The selection process is:• The decision over what is chosen to be represented and what is rejected• The choices made when organising the representation• The options taken to focus the audience in a certain way, mediation always ends up with us, the audience being pushed towards concentrating on one aspect of the text and ignoring others
Audience Perceptions of Representations1. Representations as Reflections (the reflective approach)2. Representations as Deliberate Constructions (the intentional approach)3. The Constructionist Approach
Representations as Reflections (the reflective approach)• Sometimes representations are assumed by an audience to simply replicate the real world• News• Documentaries• Reality TV• Soap Operas
Representations as Deliberate Constructions (the intentional approach)• Sometimes, representations are seen to be a deliberate attempt to create associations and ideas for the audience• Documentaries (Fahrenheit 9/11)• Advertising
The Constructionist Approach• Meanings are created by the relationship between the producers, the text and the audience:• The representation is constructed with a set of ideas and values (producer’s intent/ intended meaning)• The context of the representation is part of the representation (media language choices, anchorage, media form, placement/location, genre expectations)• The audience reacts to this representation and this depends on their own personal interpretational context: age, gender, political/religious beliefs, nationality, etc. (negotiated meaning)
The Constructionist Approach• Thinking about representation in this way takes into account the personal interpretations made by individuals and accepts that one representation may create different meanings for different audience members. This is a useful way to consider media texts – if the target audience for the text is taken into account when thinking about representations it can help with determining the different responses that texts can create.
TOP TIP• When discussing representations, you will need to consider HOW they are constructed through the media language choices made. However, you should also consider WHY they are created the way they are and impact of the representations, the meaning they create and the effect on the audience.
TASK• Address the following in essay format – min 800 Analyse the ways in which the media represent one group of people you have studied• Consider/ discuss:• What you have learnt today about representation• The films we have watched so far (Sapphire and Pressure)• Contextual issues of representations in those films• Independent research you have conducted (e.g. homework tasks)