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Representation

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Cambridge Technicals study of Digital Media - Analysing representations

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Representation

  1. 1. Representation L.O: to consider how media texts represent characters, identities, topics and groups in particular ways. What does it mean to represent something? Connotations? Initial ideas?
  2. 2. Re-presentation • The representation of something is not a mirror image. • It is purposefully constructed to show us certain ideologies, beliefs and values. • It’s a re-presentation. What choices are used to help represent a person, place or thing?
  3. 3. Questions to ask for each text • Who produced the text? • Which person or group is being represented? • How are they portrayed? • Why was this specific representation selected? • How are the audience being asked to identify or distance themselves from the representation? (due to age, gender, social status, nationality, lifestyle?) • What has been left out of the representation? • Who is in power?
  4. 4. Top tips • Step back from the person or place you are deconstructing. • Don’t just think about how they represent themselves but how they have been ‘put together’ (camera angles, shots, music, clothes, body language etc) and represented by the text itself. • Consider the intended or preferred reading of the person or place by the target audience.
  5. 5. • Stereotypes in the media are constructed through dress and appearance, behaviour, codes and conventions of construction and opposition. • Stereotypes more common as a shorthand for quick identification in TV and advertising. Soap Operas for example may begin with stereotypical characters but may develop these over time. How to use it… ‘The characters in the advert highlight Medhurst’s theory of stereotypes allowing quick identification. We can quickly see the roles of mum, dad and teenage son established in the opening shot’. Stereotypes (Medhurst)
  6. 6. Stereotypes (Perkins) • Stereotypes are not always false but contain elements of truth. • Stereotypes occur because there are limited representations of diverse groups. • They can sometimes be positive but this is usually because it is beneficial for the dominant power group. How to use it… ‘the representation of Andre in this sequence demonstrates Perkin’s theory that not all stereotypes are false, and our belief of celebrities: that they do have fantastic lifestyles and only a few can achieve that status.’
  7. 7. Hyperreality (Baudrillard) • In the media saturated world a state of hyperreality exists, where our reality is based upon the reality presented to us through the media. • A different representation is shown through media texts. How to use it… ‘Baudrillard’s hyperreality theory would suggest that the view of teenager as lout, yob and criminal has become so normal and ‘real’ for us that it is hard to know what a teenager ‘is’ or what a teenager wants from life’.
  8. 8. Character tropes (Propp) • Propp argued that there are only 7 character types (reflected from fairy tales and folk tales). • The villain; the donor; the (magical) helper; the princess and her father; the dispatcher; the hero; the false hero. How to use it… ‘The film represents the female lead as a typical “princess” character who must be saved by the hero from the villain.’
  9. 9. Binary opposites (Levi Strauss) • Representations constructed through oppositions (i.e. hero/villain; sane/insane). How to use it… ‘The characters of Harry and Voldermort are represented as good and evil in opposition to each other.’
  10. 10. Represents social class?
  11. 11. Represents Britain?
  12. 12. Represents gender? Challenge: what different representations are we seeing here? Gender? Class? Wealth? Race? Beauty? Intersecting representations
  13. 13. Represents race?

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