Representation

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Representation

  1. 1. Representation By Eden Taylor
  2. 2. What does representation mean?
  3. 3. • Representation can be defined as one thing standing for something else in the sense of re-presenting it in a different view. Most simply then, texts are often thought to represent some form of reality, more or less accurately. • Representation has largely dealt with hoe particular social groups are, or have been represented in the media. Focusing on women, ethnic minorities, young people, old people, gender and particularly sub cultures.
  4. 4. Example • For example, black people may be represented in particular jobs and roles within films where as Asians people are nearly always presented as shopkeepers in British films and television programs such as soaps, despite the fact that, statistically this a minority occupation for such groups.
  5. 5. Connotation • Contrast refers to much wider range of associations that the image or text might have.
  6. 6. Connotations • Certain objects and individuals carry specific connotations. We learn to associate signs with particular meanings. (Add in schemas) • For example: • A feather alongside a bow and arrow is likely to connote the Native North American. Individuals too have association, which most people of that culture know. For example: a president of a country would possess connotations of power and world leadership. In fictional texts, iconography can be used to signify a genre (the western’s ten-gallon hat, revolvers, saloons, and sheriff’s badge and so on) where as certain actors can become associated with a particular genre for example John Wayne and Clint Eastwood are associated with particularly the western genre.
  7. 7. Denotation • Within semiology or semiotic analysis, denotation refers to the most basic and specific level of meaning of a text or image.
  8. 8. Example explaining the difference • While a picture of two clasped hands denotes a handshake, its connotation might be friendship or meeting for the first time. • The denotative meaning of the Cross of St George maybe the English flag flown on ceremonial occasions but its connotative meaning of the image is of patriotism, nostalgia for empire or the England football team.
  9. 9. Barthes, Roland (1950-80) • He identified hemeneutic (or enigma), proairetic (or action), referential, semic and symbolic codes from structuralist and semiotic perspective. • He is best known in media and cultural studies for his application of the ideas of semiology to the nature of everyday life. • Barthes dug below the surface of everyday life and representation for deeper meaning to show the operation of power.
  10. 10. Stereotyping
  11. 11. Branston and Stafford • Stereotypes are widely circulated ideas or assumptions about particular groups or individuals. According to Branston and Stafford stereotypes have the following characteristics: • They involve both categorising and an evaluation of the group being stereotyped. • They usually emphasise some easily grasped feature(s) of the group in question and suggest that these are the cause of the group’s position. • The evaluation of the group is often, though not always, a negative one. • Stereotypes often try to insist on absolute differences and boundaries where the idea of a spectrum of differences is more appropriate.
  12. 12. Why is stereotyping necessary ?
  13. 13. • Stereotyping is a form of categorisation; it could be argued that it is necessary to make sense of the world, and the flood of information and impressions we receive minute by minute. We often make sense of people we meet on the basis of gestures, dress, and voice and so on, very much as we construct a sense of characters in the media.
  14. 14. Schemas- British psychologist, Sir Frederic Bartlett (1886–1969) • is an organised packet of information about the world , events, or people that is stored in long-term memory. • For example: most people have a schema containing information about the normal sequence of events for instance in a restaurant having a mean. - Waiters - Order dinner - Bar to order drinks - Table and chairs - Smell of food - Talking - Table manners - Table layout of glasses and cutlery
  15. 15. Bartlett • Memory does not simply involve remembering the information presented to us. • He claimed that our prior knowledge in the form of schemas influences what we remember and we remember it. • He believed in the reconstructive memory- with memory being an active process in which what we remember depends on the information we were exposed to at the time of learning and our relevant schematic knowledge. • Schemas are stored in the long-term memory and help us make sense of the world. Example: if we are exposed to a actor in a film wearing a short sleeved top, are schemas would tell us that is likely to be summer in the film
  16. 16. How do stereotypes work? • Stereotypes generally work on the basis of taking some easily grasped features presumed to belong to a group. They put these at the center of the figure, and then imply that all members of the group always have those features. These features would then be taken to the final stage of suggesting that these characteristics are themselves the cause of the groups’ position. One of the seductions of stereotypes is that they can point to features that apparently have a ‘grain of truth’. But they then repeat, across a whole range of media jokes yet stereotypes are forever changing over time. Critics of realism would argue that such texts merely disguise their nature as discourse and that their meanings do not spring naturally from empirical observation, but are constructed by ideology.
  17. 17. Characteristics of Stereotypes • They involve both a categorising and evaluation of the group being stereotyped • They usually emphasise some easily grasped features of the group in question and suggest that these are the cause of the groups position • The evaluation of the group is often, though not always, a negative one • Stereotypes often try to insist on absolute differences and boundaries where the idea of a spectrum of difference is more appropriate
  18. 18. • People respond to each other almost automatically using stereotypes based on race, age, and gender. Perceptions and judgments about others are made instantaneously, without conscious thought or effort, which is why stereotypes remain insidious. Stereotypes typically exaggerate certain characteristics of some members of a group and attribute the negative characteristic to aging. They do not recognize that individual characteristics vary greatly and also change over time.
  19. 19. Stereotyping-Gender • The distinction between sex and gender is a key one, even though the two terms may be used in different ways, sex difference refers here to the classification of people depending upon whether they are male or female, depending on their physical characteristics, emotions, actions ect. • Gender differences are culturally formed, though they exist in the basis of biological classification they hugely differentiate.
  20. 20. Example • they insist that because women bear children, that they should stay at home and bring them up and be a ‘house wife’ model. This is an example of gender representation that also works with taken for granted textual habits especially powerful within audio-visual media such as films is ‘the look’.
  21. 21. John Berger (1972), Erving Goffman (1976) and Laura Mulvey (1975) • they suggested that women have learned to see themselves as being ‘looked at’ within Hollywood in such roles as a mother, maid, house wife, nurse (jobs that serve the needed and men, whereas men however have been represented as mostly the ones who do the active looking, along with other kinds of socially valued and purposeful action such as police officer, builder, FBI agent ect.
  22. 22. Examples
  23. 23. Cinderella • Here is a very stereotypical representation of a female character being put to work in kitchens and the home to the extreme, although this is a Disney film called Cinderella this is a perfect example to get the point across where she is forced to clean the floors be remains happy in herself and does not let it get her down or ruin her dreams. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F5qgEBHAVM
  24. 24. The Duchess • Another very stereotypical aspect in which I have already picked up upon is the way in which women have excepted the way they are put into films as roles to be looked at this is confirmed from The Duchess trailer where a male voice says ‘when she appears, all eyes are to be turned towards her’ this shows a women’s sense of placement in such stereotypical roles as figure heads. This trailer also shows the typical role of a child bearer in which the Duchess is to provide the duke with a son. • “she is the subject of universal conversation” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLRoimyj9BE
  25. 25. Subverting the stereotypes
  26. 26. Tomb Raider • Some directors seem to subvert the stereotypical roles played by characters such a women whereby in the case or Tomb Raider (played by Lara croft) she is a secret agent who is forceful, powerful, strong minded and determined to overcome any problem standing in her way. She is the face of good when it comes against the villain who is played by male figures who seem to be intimidated by her presence and every move. This would have shocked earlier films whereby she is no typical young lady who stays at home and cleans all day. She is tough, macho, gets in serious and death defying situations and possesses very much ‘male’ aspects and roles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1yu-HGSSLk
  27. 27. Mr & Mrs Smith • In this trailer again Lara Croft is presented to us as a typical house wife making her husband dinner and she also has her own make up table and a glass of wine before… • She is then presented as a dangerous assassin and so is her husband. She is forceful and strong against her husband as they fight it off against one another, she keeps up and seems more in control than her husband. • She is carrying dangerous weapons, her make up table is a gadget that turns into a closet for weapons and ammunition. • She is also seen scaling a building and being shot at by her husband. There are two completely different representations of herself within this film, the sweet loving house wife vs. the deadly assassin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuW-UKadvNY
  28. 28. Stereotyping Cultures • Racism: doesn’t necessarily mean a hatred of non-white groups. More accurately it involves any account of the world which argues that- - People can be divided into races usually via observable differences in appearance. Some accounts are obsessed with ‘colour, hair and bone’ difference, which are used to argue for an absolute difference between ‘black’ and ‘white’ Here in Slumdog millionaire we can see some differences that people may imply upon their stereotypical culture and some aspects that we also relate to them which can be seen throughout the film and clips. This includes their music, saris clothing, colour of their skin, their dancing, slum areas of living against a Bollywood area as well. The colours seems bright and reflect their culture even when things can be tough in some areas. Their jewellery is also very important to them . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIzbwV7on6Q Slumdog Millionaire
  29. 29. Stereotyping Cultures The next steps of the racist position imply that: - These supposed simple groupings give fundamental explanations for behaviour and character, indeed that they account for more than any other factor, such as class, upbringing, gender… - And that some races are inferior to others, and ‘innately’ prone to certain kinds of behaviour Racism resembles stereotyping in the way it takes broadly observable features of a group, puts them at the centre of any account of that group, exaggerates then and (usually) gives them a negative value.
  30. 30. Characters • The use of character types has a long history, particularly in literature (films). Types of characters are defined by what they represent rather than being genuine individuals. • The type is signified by an actor’s appearance and behaviour and unlike the stereotype, does not exist in the real world.
  31. 31. Vladimir Propp Fairy Tale Transformations • Propp suggested that all folk tale narratives he analysed can be reduced to a limited number of functions (31) and only 7 basic character types (dramatic personae): The hero — the protagonist (can be a hero or a victim) The dispatcher — a character in the story who sends the hero on his or her quest. The helper — helps the hero in the quest, appears at critical moment to provide support. The villain — an antagonist, struggles against the hero. The donor — gives the hero some magical object (e.g. talisman), frequently the donor is a supernatural creature. The princess and her father — the King gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero. The princess marries the hero, identifies the false hero, often is the object sought for during the narrative, or a reward. False hero — a competitor, takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess
  32. 32. Intertextuality • this is the process in which meanings from one text becomes part of, or refer to, another • This process can deliberate for example in the way that a comedy may parody other texts, or in the way that post- modern texts are thought to operate by the incorporation of other texts or fragments of texts • Here are some example from pulp fiction: - Buddy Holiday is a waiter in pulp fiction and previously appeared in Reservoir Dogs as a character who was known for hating waiters - Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is shown in a dance sequence as this was his former come back where is playing himself in a similar role from his previous career in such films as Greece and Saturday Night Fever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y&feature=related – pulp fiction dance contest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c48Ol9xkaqM&feature=fvst- Greece Greased Lightening song
  33. 33. Intertextuality…However • However those writers such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault who have heralded the end of the death of the author, would hold that, in effect all texts are produced through a process of mobilisation or other texts and discourses such that the text is actually made up of many other texts (pulp fiction) and is written through the author • In this sense Intertextuality is not a deliberate tactic of an author, but the way in which all texts are produced
  34. 34. • Diegetic- refers to those things that are on the screen in a film and can be accounted for by what occurs visually Example: this may include such things like the dialogue spoken by the actors • Extra-diegetic/non-diegetic- refers to those things that cannot be accounted for by what is on the screen. Example: many trailers/films include such phenomena as voice-overs or music added to create atmosphere
  35. 35. Erwin Panfosky (1979) • Described The types derived from the theatre, which were used in early cinema: “the Vamp and the Straight Girl…,the Family Man, and the Villain, the latter marked by a black mustache and walking stick…A checkered table cloth meant…a ‘poor but honest’ milieu.” • Character types were particularly useful in early cinema, which could not use dialogue to establish character and setting
  36. 36. Representation and Ageism • The term ageism refers to a deep and profound prejudice against the elderly (Butler). In simple terms, ageism occurs when people stereotype others based on old age. Ageism occurs throughout society in varying degrees, in television, advertising, movies, stores, hospitals, and jobs. • Ageism is a process of stereotyping and discriminating against people because they are old. From a definitional perspective, ageism is like racism or sexism in that it treats people differently based on stereotypes about a group.
  37. 37. Representation and Ageism • Ageism as a term and as a process to be studied is relatively new, an ironic twist for the study of how society views getting old. Most studies of ageist attitudes tend to focus on its negative aspects. However, ageism can also have a positive perspective, such as when the attributes of age are deemed advantageous. For example, a positive view perceives an association between aging and greater wisdom, patience, and an enhanced appreciation of life's benefits.
  38. 38. Old Vs. Young • Ageism appears in many forms. A few examples illustrate how the behaviour of an older person is described in an ageist manner, where the same behaviour by a younger person is explained without stereotypes. • When older people forget someone's name, they are viewed as senile. • When a younger person fails to recall a name, we usually say he or she has a faulty memory. • When an older person complains about life or a particular incident, they are called cranky and difficult, while a younger person may just be seen as being critical. • If an older person has trouble hearing, she is dismissed as "getting old," rather than having difficulty with her hearing. • Children also can hold negative stereotypes about older people. Some young children equate aging with being sick, unfulfilled, unhappy, or dying
  39. 39. Genres and Realism • Texts do not have a straightforward relationship to the rest of the real world. They may belong to certain genres which is not experienced by audiences in the same way as, say the news or current affairs. • Audiences and especially fans degree of familiarity with genres conventions will influence its ‘reality effect’ and what they take for granted in order to get at its pleasures. • The idea of images as reflecting reality is far too straightforward and mirror-like, especially for fantasy forms (horrors, comedies, sci-fi or animation). It suggests there is a fairly simple thing called reality to be reflected in a one-to-one undistorted glass. • Yet comedy for example: seems to depend on the exaggeration of stereotyping which are understood playfully by audiences, not always as a reflection on the real.
  40. 40. Evaluation • There maybe a range of different representations of groups or individuals in texts or cultures. Thus, rather than speaking simply of the representation of a group, it is important to pay attention to diversity. This can relate to the amount of realism in which it is not so much a particular for as the claim, implicit or explicit, of a text that its representations are a direct, unmediated reflection of real life, and hence that its meanings have a value of truth.
  41. 41. Dyer’s Typography • Re-presented: this consists essentially of media language, the conversations which are used to represent the world to the audience; • Being representative: the extent to which types are used to represent social groups, this dealt with here in a consideration of stereotypes; • Who is responsible for the representation, how the institution creating media text influences representation: this is particularly contentious in the representation of gender, as it is often men who are doing the representing; • What does the audience think is being represented to them: as we known audiences can make different readings of media texts from the one offered.
  42. 42. References • GILL BRANSTON and ROY STAFFORD- the Media Student’s Book (Fourth Edition) • Nicholas Abercrombie & Brian Longhurst- Dictionary of Media Studies • IMAGE AND REPRESENTATION- KEY CONCEPTS IN MEDIA STUDIES- nick lacey • http://www.youtube.com/ • AS LEVEL PSYCHOGOLOGY /FOURTH EDITION- MICHAEL W. EYSENCK • MEDIA STUDIES: The Essential resource- Philip Rayner, Peter Wall and Stephen Kruger

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