What is Representation?• A representation can be a single image, a sequence of images or a whole programme.• The media do not present reality they ‘re-present it’ – they are representing things that have already occurred.How does Representation work?• Representations invite audiences to understand them and agree with them in certain preferred ways. Different interpretations are possible to some extent, depending on the audience.
The Power of RepresentationsWhatever representations are used,there are ideologies, meanings andvalues that are implicit in thatpresentation. Clearly this givesgreat power and responsibility tomedia institutions as therepresentations, to some extent caninfluence social attitudes to socialgroups in many ways. In particularsome institutions could be accusedof starting what Stanley Cohencoins ‘moral panics’.
StereotypesStereotypes are used to enable an audience toinstantly identify and understand the meaning of atext. Stereotypes are an extreme form ofrepresentation . Certain aspects are focussed onand exaggerated.In texts, stereotypes are characters who are‘types’ rather than complex people.Stereotypes are usually negative representationsand most have a lot of assumptions.Stereotyping is often evident when there is apower imbalance between members of society.Relations from men and women, for example,could encourage the development of stereotypeson both sides. In the same way, disadvantagedminority groups (ethnicity, disability) often havestereotypes associated with them.
TASKWhat stereotypes have you used in your trailer? Why did youuse them? What initial interpretation did you intend youraudience to make? How do stereotypes aid understanding ofthe narrative/genre?
IdeologyO’Sullivan States that underpinning most of the media,various powerful vested interests operate to ensure thatparticular representations are manifested.Noam Chomsky argues that the media serve theinterests of the state and corporate power.Ideology then is a set of beliefs and ideas that arepresented in a media text. Dominant Ideologies thosewhich are accepted and understood by the majority ofpeople as part of our culture and expectations.What dominant Ideologies govern our society? How dostereotypes in media texts help to re-affirm andreinforce these?
TaskWatch these trailers – what ideologies are reinforced? How have stereotypes beenused to portray this?Ideal 2.4 family set up, living in suburbia. Threat to the family unithttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJA3lN0xCQThreat of otherness (to western society), defining masculinity?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDMXkPfxjOc#Working mother – is it manageable? Should women concentrate on eithermotherhood or career – can you do both?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv1QsQN78HkNow watch your trailer – what ideologies areembedded within your work? Is Chomsky correct?
Hegemony Gramsci defined hegemony as the way in which those in power maintain their control. Dominant ideologies are considered hegemonic. An accepted hegemony, in our culture, is that the police are always right. Althusser argued that ideology is a force in it’s own right – ideologies reinforce ‘common sense’ assumptions, attitudes and expectations e.g. women are better parents, men are stronger, homosexuality isn’t natural. Your work will have implicit ideologies in them in the sense that is constructed visually.