Representation theory

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Representation theory

  1. 1. Exam revision sheet – Media Studies A2 level Q1(b)Representation theoryThe way a subject is shown to the audience is the essence of representation.Richard Dyer’s typographical theory stated there were four aspects torepresentation. 1. Re-presentation: What type of media language is being used to portray the subject? If a person is shown with lighting below the face, contrasting and sinister shadows are shown, making the subject appear sinister, for example. 2. Being representative of: the media uses types to communicate. Often these types are stereotypes; so all East End men have shaved heads and intimidate people with violence. All motorcyclists are rebels that wear leathers and speed dangerously. Careful selection of mise-en-scène is used to convey meaning and reinforce stereotypes. 3. Institutions create texts for profit, not accuracy or realism. Many audiences prefer to be entertained rather than think, so stereotypes are used repeatedly because they comfort. Countertypes (where stereotypes are challenged or subverted) do not go down well with many audiences. Many audiences would feel cheated after seeing a James Bond film where Bond turned out to be gay! 4. Audiences’ responses to representations: audiences can make preferred, negotiated or oppositional readings of texts.There are some important questions to ask whenever you see a representation: • Who or what is being represented? • Who is doing the representation? • Is the representation fair, truthful and accurate? • Does the person being represented have any opportunity for self-expression, or are words put into their mouth by editing, mise-en-scène and so forth?

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