Intro• Representation relates to the representation of reality in the media.• When we study representation we look at what representations are constructed, why they are constructed that way and how audiences receive and consume them.
Intro• In many situations our only knowledge of people or situations will come from these media representations.• For instance, the way in which you have constructed your character types within your production may well be influenced through representations of such characters from other media texts.
Representation• It is impossible not to receive these representations from the media• It is not impossible to become aware of how we receive them and to make conscious decisions about why we accept or challenge them.
Representation• Whatever representations are used, there an ideology(‘ideology’ in media studies: system of belief that is constructed and presented by a media text)• Meanings and values are implicit (leaves you to infer the meaning, the meaning isnt specifically given) in that presentation.
(Levi Strauss, 1958).• All representations have ideologies behind them. Certain paradigms are encoded into texts and others are left out in order to give a preferred representation.
Task• With your partner try and come up with as many individual or group representations there are in the media today.• What ideologies are attached to such representations?• Can you think of a media text which has used this representation?
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
How are representations constructed?Any representation is a mixture of:The thing itselfThe opinions of the people doing therepresentationThe reaction of the individual to therepresentation The context of the society in which therepresentation is taking place
Richard Dyer(1983)Posed a few questions when analysing media representations in general.• 1. What sense of the world is it making?• 2. What does it imply? Is it typical of the world or deviant?• 3. Who is it speaking to? For whom? To whom?• 4. What does it represent to us and why? How do we respond to the representation?
Gender and Ideology (FEMINISM)• Masculinity and femininity are socially constructed.• Ideas about gender are produced and reflected in language (O’Sullivan et al (1998).• Feminism is a label that refers to a broad range of views containing one shared assumption- gender inequalities in society, historically masculine power (patriarchy) exercised at right of women’s interests and rights.
Gender and ideology• Particularly in relation to music video and film - objectification of women’s bodies in the media has been a constant theme.• Laura Mulvey(1975)arguesThe dominant point of view is masculine. The female body is displayed for the male gaze in order to provide erotic pleasure for the male (voyeurism). Women are therefore objectified by the camera lens and whatever gender the spectator/audience is positioned to accept the masculine POV.
John Berger Ways Of Seeing (1972)• Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. Women are aware of being seen by a male spectator.
TASK• Explain how you think the ‘male gaze’ and/or ‘the ways of seeing’ theory could apply to one of your coursework pieces.
Paul Willis(1990)• Based on a postmodern return to feminism, that pop stars are symbolic vehicles with which young women understand themselves more fully...shaping their personalities to fit the stars -alleged preferences.
POSTMODERNISM AND REPRESENTATIONS OF REALITY• In a media saturated world, the distinction between reality and media representations becomes blurred or invisible to us (Julian McDougall, 2009).
Jean Baudrillard (1980)• Baudrillard discussed the concept of hyper realitywe inhabit a society that is no longer made up of any original thing for a sign to represent -it is the sign that is now the meaning. He argued that we live in a society of simulacra- simulations of reality that replace the real.
• We can apply this to texts that claim to represent reality - documentary, news.Merrin(2005)argues that the media do not reflect and represent the reality of the public but instead produce it, employing this simulation to justify their own continuing existence.
Stereotypes• Stereotypes are characters in a media text who are ‘types’ rather than complex people.• It is argued that stereotypes are usually negative representations and most have a lot of assumptions invested in them.
Stereotypes• Boy bands are often accused of being constructed to offer a calculated range of representations, each to appeal to different elements of the audience.• E.g. sport member, casual member, quiet member etc…
Stereotypes• Stereotypes also usually represent an entire social group in a single character.• Such as the spoilt child, drunken Irishman etc…
Orrin E. Klapps(1962) Stereotype vs. social type• Distinction between stereotypes and social types is helpful.• Social types as representations of those who belong to society. They are the kinds of people that one expects, and is led to expect, to find in ones society, whereas stereotypes are those who do not belong, who are outside of ones society.
Tessa Perkins (1979)• says, however, that stereotyping is not a simple process.• She identified that some of the many ways that stereotypes are assumed to operate aren’t true.• They aren’t always negative (French good cooks). They aren’t always about minority groups or those less powerful. They are not always false.They are not always rigid and unchanging. Perkins argues that if stereotypes were always so simple then they would not work culturally and over time.
Ideology and representation• The representations used within a text act to define the ideology.• A family sitcom depends on the use of stereotypes to find the comedy.• We know the ideology of the programme, we know what representations to expect!
Dominant ideologies and hegemony• Gramsci defined hegemony as the way in which those in power maintain their control.• Dominant ideologies are considered hegemonic – i.e. power in society is maintained by constructing appropriate ideologies which are usually promoted via the mass media.
Identifying ideology• Ideologies are promoted in many ways.• Magazines are a good example because so many present and ‘ideal’ lifestyle for their readers to aspire to. This ‘ideal’ is directly linked to the dominant ideologies in society.
Questions• Who or what is being represented?• Is this a positive or a negative representation?• How is it being established? (mise en scene, camerawork etc)• How does this representation relate to the target audience?• What ideologies are suggested by this representation?• Is it a stereotypical representation?• It is a fair and/or accurate representation?• Are the representations conventional or subversive?
Questions• How does your video represent different social groups/people/places/lifestyles?• What values/ideologies are you representing/promoting?• Does your production create a hegemonic representation/does it represent and reinforce the dominant ideology?• What positive/negative/stereotypical connotations and representations are you constructing/using/challenging?• How are the representations in your production the products of your own cultural experience/background/ideology/values?• What would Laura Mulvey say about your production?