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  1. 1. Representation<br />
  2. 2. What is representation?<br />Watch the video featuring Stuart Hall.<br />How does he explain what representation is?<br />Stuart Hall: Representation and the Media<br />
  3. 3. Stuart Hall – Key Points<br />Hall emphasises the importance of visual representation – the image seems to be the prevalent sign of late modern culture.<br />Representation – to present/to depict.<br />The word suggests something was there already and has been represented by the media.<br />Representation as that which stands in for something else.<br />Representation is the way in which meaning is given to the things which are depicted that stand in for something.<br />
  4. 4. Semiotics<br />Developed by Ferdinand de Saussure who studied how language created meaning.<br />Language does not reflect reality – meaning is constructed through language.<br />We make meaning through the creation and interpretation of signs.<br />Signs can be words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts, objects.<br />
  5. 5. Signs<br />SIGNIFIER + SIGNIFIED = SIGN.<br />The signifier is the form which the sign takes.<br />The signified is the concept it represents.<br />The sign is the total meaning that results from associating the signifier with the signified.<br />
  6. 6. Representation and Signs<br />At a basic level representation is the way in which signs are used to construct meaning.<br />The study of representation has tended to focus upon the way in which different social groups are represented (gender, race, sexuality, social class, etc.)<br />
  7. 7. Laura Mulvey – Visual Pleasure and the Male Gaze<br />Mulvey is a feminist film scholar.<br /> ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975).<br />Analysed Hollywood cinema and argued that female characters were represented as passive objects of male sexual desire.<br />The male gaze – male characters are ‘the bearers of the look’ which is usually aimed at physically desirable, sexually submissive female characters.<br />Mulvey argues spectators watch films through the eyes of the male characters.<br />
  8. 8. Mulvey<br />Scopophilia – pleasure in looking.<br />Cinema offers voyeuristic pleasures – visual pleasures.<br />Male scopophilic desires satisfied.<br />Women connote ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’.<br />Men look, women are looked at.<br />Object/subject.<br />
  9. 9. Mulvey identifies three ways of looking associated with cinema:<br />The look of the camera that records the film<br />The look of the audience that views the film<br />The look of the characters in the film<br />The first two looks are invisible in classical narrative cinema meaning that the only visible look is is that of the characters.<br />
  10. 10. Criticisms of Mulvey<br />Theoretical not empirical model.<br />Focuses on heterosexual male spectators.<br />Assumes mass audience responding to a text in a uniform way.<br />Neglects possibility of male providing visual pleasure.<br />Mary Ann Doane – ‘the masquerade’. Flaunting a flamboyant femininity is an empowering position.<br />Kathleen Rowe argues that being the object of the gaze is a position of power.<br />Richard Dyer questions the association of looking (subject of the gaze) with being active, and being looked at (object of the gaze) as being passive.<br />Ann Kaplan argues women can possess the look and make men the object of the gaze. However this is simply a reversal of roles in which the positions are still defined by dominance and submission. The gaze is not necessarily male, but is masculine.<br />
  11. 11. Analysing the Male Gaze<br />Watch the clip from Two and A Half Men. Consider the following questions: <br />What are the characters (the bearers of the look) shown to be looking at?<br />What is the camera looking?<br />What is the audience expected to be looking at?<br />What are the purposes of the shots of the male and female characters?<br />Who is the presumed spectator?<br />Which characters are dominant and which are submissive?<br />Two and A Half Men<br />
  12. 12. Richard Dyer and the Representation of Men<br />Dyer draws on Mulvey’s work to argue that ways of looking reassert male dominance.<br />He suggests that images of men aimed at women undermine those codes.<br />When men are objectified they will attempt to resist the gaze of the camera – they may look away, close their eyes, wear sunglasses, look aggressive. They may be doing something, i.e. being active not just posing.<br />
  13. 13. Analysing Representation<br />Dyer identifies four questions to ask of a representation:<br />How is it re-presenting the world to us (through technical codes)?<br />What does it suggest is typical and what is not?<br />Who is speaking? For whom?<br />What is represented to us? Why?<br />
  14. 14. Stereotypes<br />Media representations often use stereotypes as a cultural shorthand.<br />Dyer argues stereotypes are a way of reinforcing differences between people, and representing these differences as natural.<br />For example stereotypes about men and women reinforce the idea that they are very different.<br />
  15. 15. Jean Baudrillard - Simulacra<br />Baudrillard is a postmodern theorist.<br />He argues our society has become so reliant on representations that we have lost contact with the real.<br />We can no longer tell the real from the artificial.<br />Reality is determined by representation.<br />There is no distinction between reality and representation, only the simulacrum.<br />Simulacrum – a copy that now has more reality than the object it is a copy of.<br />
  16. 16. Baudrillard<br />
  17. 17. Baudrillard<br />For Baudrillard the entire concept of representation is problematic.<br />Media representations are simulations of realities that do not exist.<br />They are hyperreal.<br />
  18. 18. Representation – Key Ideas<br />
  19. 19. Analysing Representation<br />What signifiers are used? What meaning is produced?<br />What social groups are being represented? What is shown to be normal/deviant? <br />Who constructed the representation? Why?<br />Are stereotypes used? What effect do they have?<br />Which characters are dominant/submissive?<br />Who are the objects/subjects of the gaze?<br />What ‘reality’ is represented? How does the representation relate to the ‘reality’?<br /><br />