The dictionary describes representation as:To
represent something is to describe, or depict
it, to call it up in the mind by description or
portrayal.To represent also means to
symbolise, stand for, be a substitute for- e.g.:
The cross symbolises suffering and the
crucifixion of Christ.
What is representation?
Representation is concerned with the way
that people, ideas and events are presented
This could be representation in
programmes, films, music videos etc.
It may include representation of
people, places, events.
The media will represent people, places and
For example, the characters in Eastenders are
representing certain groups of people.
The media rely on the audience
understanding these representations and
accepting them as ‘real’.
For some people, the media’s representation
of something may be the only contact that
person has with that group.
E.g.: representations of religion, teenagers
and the Police.
As media students, it is important for you to
Who is represented
(age, gender, class, region, ethnicity, sexualit
Identify a lack of representation
Deconstruct how they are represented (using
technical and cultural codes) to the audience.
Understanding the difference between what
is real and what is represented is vital to our
understanding of any media text.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FORTHE MEDIATO
PRESENTTHEWORLD AS IT REALLY IS
BECAUSETHE MEDIA CONSTRUCTS
MEANINGS ABOUTTHEWORLDTHEY CHANGE
OR MEDIATE WHAT IS REALLYTHERE.
Things can be described as a re-presentation
of things. So the media, re-present the world
to the audience.The ideas are a re-
presentation of the original
Event ------- Mediated-------re-presentation
Describe from when you woke up this
morning until when you arrived at school, to
the person next to you.
What you achieved was a re-presentation of
events.You probably left out some details.
Watching the news is a re-presentation of
events.The way in which the show has been
edited and the points of the story they pick
up, means that it is only possible to re-
Richard Dyer (1983) posed a few questions
when analysing media representations in
1. What sense of the world is it making?
2. What does it imply? Is it typical of the world
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?
These are ideas that can be held by one social
group about another.
They are often used in a negative or
They are frequently used to justify prejudicial
behaviours e.g.: blondes are dumb, old
people are miserable, teenagers are moody.
Representations of youth
How do you think youth is presented?Watch
the following clip and consider if you feel it is
a realistic representation of youth.
Watch the following classic clips of
What stereotypes do you think are used by
Consider the stereotypes used.
How is the audience able to recognise them?
What pleasure might the audience receive
from these stereotypes?