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Representation 2


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Representation 2

  1. 1. REPRESENTATION A Media Studies Key Aspect
  2. 2. What is it?  Representation is the process by which the media presents the ‘real world’ to an audience.  Media texts construct meanings about the world – a picture, a film, a television programme or a newspaper article re- presents the world to help audiences make sense of it.  A popular understanding of representation is through stereotypes – what are they?
  3. 3. Stereotypes  Stereotypes are a form of representation in which groups of people are characterised by attributing to them qualities that some individuals possess, and which later become associated with the whole group.
  4. 4. A stereotype  Punks are forever associated with safety pins in their clothes and bodies, and Mohican haircuts. This is the stereotype of a punk although there will be many punks who do not look like this.
  5. 5. Some more examples
  6. 6. Definitions  ‘Stereotypes are widely circulated ideas or assumptions about particular groups.’  Stereotypes are also essential tools for media producers. They can be used as a shorthand to condense a lot of complex information and detail into a character who is easily recognised and simple to deal with – Ugly Betty is a good example. It makes it easier for the audience to understand the character and his or her role in the text.
  7. 7. A further breakdown  Branston and Stafford state there are 4 characteristics: 1. They involve both a categorising and an evaluation of the group being stereotyped. 2. They usually emphasise some easily grasped features of the group and suggest that these are the cause of the group’s position. 3. The evaluation of the group is often, though not always, a negative one. 4. Stereotypes often try to insist on absolute differences and boundaries where the idea of a spectrum of difference is more appropriate.
  8. 8. A Mass of Stereotypes
  9. 9. Stereotypes and Disabilities  We are going to watch several clips of films that focus on disabilities.  How do they confront, challenge, or enhance stereotypes?
  10. 10. The Elephant Man
  11. 11. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  12. 12. Inside I’m Dancing
  13. 13. Activity
  14. 14. Discussion  Compare and contrast the representation of Ugly Betty with other young fictional women from TV and film.  Sources could include Skins, Hollyoaks; US teen films – John Tucker Must Die, Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You, American Pie franchise, Bring It On, A Cinderella Story, Freaky Friday, Save The Last Dance, Step Up, and for the historical context: Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Up The Junction, Strictly Ballroom.
  15. 15. Representation  Representation is not just about how we see people, places and objects but also how we interpret what our senses tell us. This depends as much on who we are, as what we see, hear or read.
  16. 16. Accuracy  An important debate in any study of the media is about the accuracy of the representations it offers us.  Is it possible to be wholly accurate?  Does society have a view on accuracy in the media and who monitors it?  There are official organisations who monitor the media for accuracy and other codes of behaviours to make sure that people are protected to some degree from exposure to lies and deliberate untruths.
  17. 17. What does this say?
  18. 18. Film Representation  A film representation of a character for example consists of at least four factors: 1. The character – gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality and look 2. The collective cultural background and views of the producer/director/institution 3. The audience’s reaction to the character 4. Where and when the representation takes place – cinema/home/ laptop/friend’s house
  19. 19. Questions to always ask  How far can we trust the representation that is being made to be an accurate portrayal?  In whose interests is it that the representation is made in this way?  How do we relate to the representations?
  20. 20. Mediation (important!)  Mediation is the process by which a media text represents an idea, issue or event to an audience.  Many people think that if you point a camera at an event or person the ‘reality’ of that event or person will be immediately apparent. Seeing something through a lens changes not just the perspective and size of a person but also how the audience perceives that person. Therefore it has been mediated.
  21. 21. Three Things to Look For  Selection - Whatever ends up on the screen or in the paper, much more will have been left out — any news story has been selected from hundreds of others which the producers decided for you were less interesting, any picture has been chosen from an enormous number of alternatives.
  22. 22. Three Things to Look For  Organisation - The various elements will be organised carefully in ways that real life is not: in visual media this involves mise-en-scene and the organisation of narrative, in the recording of an album the production might involve re-mixing a track. Any medium you can think of will have an equivalent to these. This organisation of the material will result in …
  23. 23. Three Things to Look For  Focusing - mediation always ends up with us, the audience, being encouraged towards concentrating on one aspect of the text and ignoring others. If you are watching a film the camera will pan towards an important character, in a tabloid the headlines will scream, for your attention.
  24. 24. Activity  Compare a close up shot and long shot of a classmate  What can you see on a big close up of the face?  What can you tell about his / her character?
  25. 25. Media Language  This is part of Media Language – working to construct an image for the audience, through the camera lens.
  26. 26. Media Language  As soon as an image is captured on film or digitally it is a representation of reality, not reality.  Representation is influenced by how the scene is set up, whether it is filming a real event or a fictional scene. The significance of the position of the camera is familiar if you are used to viewing sporting events on television.
  27. 27. What does this represent?
  28. 28. Media Language  In a film the camera can look at a scene from many different angles. Generally the camera will observe. Sometimes it will focus on other types of shots.  The important job for the audience is to decode and understand the depth and credibility of the information which is coming across.
  29. 29. Media Language  In a movie everything included in the frame The mise-en-scène is important for conveying meaning and creating a ‘realistic’ or constructed representation.  Lighting, make up, camera angle, costume, soundtrack, music and effects all combine to make the representation of the characters as effective, and sometimes as ‘real’ as possible for an audience.
  30. 30. Remember  Representations do change over time depending on society’s view of a social group, and are influenced by cultural and legislative changes and, arguably, by media texts
  31. 31. Some good news  We only have one more Key Aspect to examine... narrative (the big one!)  But we also need to have a look at Skills and Language after that