Mass communication & media literacy 08


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  • Both the scarcity and the importance of minority representations yield what many have called " the burden of representation". Since there are so few images, negative ones can have devastating affects on the real lives of marginalized people. We must also ask, if there are so few, who will produce them? Who will be the supposed voice of the subaltern? Given the allegorical character of these representations, even subaltern writers, artists, and scholars are asking who can really speak for whom? When a spokesperson or a certain image is read as metonymic, representation becomes more difficult and dangerous. Solutions for this conundrum are difficult to theorize. We can call for increased "self representation" or the inclusion of more individuals from 'marginalized' groups in 'the act of representing', yet this is easier said then done. Also, the inclusion of more minorities in representation will not necessarily alter the structural or institutional barriers that prevent equal participation for all in representation. Focusing on whether or not images are negative or positive, leaves in tact a reliance on the "realness' of images, a "realness" that is false to begin with. Finally, I again turn to Spivak and her question, 'Can the Subaltern Speak'. In this seminal essay, Spivak emphasizes the fact that representation is a sort of speech act, with a speaker and a listener. Often, the subaltern makes an attempt at self-representation, perhaps a representation that falls outside the 'the lines laid down by the official institutional structures of representation' (306). Yet, this act of representation is not heard. It is not recognized by the listener, perhaps because it does not fit in with what is expected of the representation. Therefore, representation by subaltern individuals seems nearly impossible.
  • Mass communication & media literacy 08

    1. 1. Mass Communication & Media Literacy 08
    2. 2. The Burden of Representation Negative stereotyping and the limited range of representation Dominant and subaltern groups Kobena Mercer: ‘Black Art and the Burden of Represention’
    3. 3. The Burden ofRepresentationThere’s nothing you cansay that we haven’t saidalready ourselves
    4. 4. Proportionality How many people from a particular group are represented? How frequently do representations of a particular group exist in media forms? What is the extent of those representations? Content Analysis:  a quantitative method of analysing the denotative content of media output based on defined samples and recognisable categories.   
    5. 5. Content Analysis
    6. 6. Fame: representing individuals What does the claim that ‘we live in a celebrity culture’ mean? Media stars:  Are commodities produced by media for consumption by audiences – profit driven  Represent ‘economic capital’  Represent investment  Status is governed by economic imperatives But how is the meaning of stardom constructed?
    7. 7. You’re a Star? Actors become stars when their off-screen lifestyles and personalities equal or surpass acting ability in importance. (Gledhill, 1991) A star ‘is a performer in a particular medium whose figure enters into subsidiary forms of circulation and then feeds back into future performances.’ (Ellis, 1992)
    8. 8. Stars as media texts The image is a version of media output ‘Brad Pitt’, ‘Angelina Joli’ are corporate (media) images not real people. They are therefore signs that can be analysed as such.  Clint Eastwood – choice and combination Primary elements: films Secondary elements: posters, badges promo materials, PR campaigns etc.
    9. 9. Stars as social barometers ‘She is what she says’ … more than an actor The process of audience identification The elevation and validation of the individual
    10. 10. WestminsterPapersMediating Celebrity