In todays lecture we learnt about one of the topics we could further our knowledge on in order to construct a critical essay. Today we learnt about ‘Representation’.

Representation is an area I have experience in as back in first year, I studied the ‘representation of women in Horror films’ and so have already gained a lot of knowledge on what representation is.

Representation is an area I enjoyed studying as it is a complex issue and changes as culture and society changes so is always relatable to today’s culture and society. Representation is one of the areas I am looking to base my critical essay on to further my knowledge and understanding of a different subject in representation.

Here’s what I learnt (or was reminded of!) in todays lecture:

  • Representation connects meaning and language to culture.
  • Representation is an essential part of the process by which meaning is produced and exchanged between members of a culture.
  • Representation involves the use of language, of signs and images which stand for or represent society.
  • Representation is a mediated process – Encoders and practitioners act as gatekeepers or filters. This means that we are always seeing someone else’s version of a particular subject and should remember we may not be seeing the reality of a situation. Things are usually added or left out purposefully so the message of the encoder is the one the audience receive.
  • Everything in the Media is constructed.
  • Representation takes many forms, such as radio segments, newspaper articles, photographs, film and television.
  • Media representation may seem realistic but remember it is constructed!
  • For representation to be meaningful to audiences, there needs to be a shared recognition of people, situation, ideas etc.
  • All representations have ideologies (hidden messages) behind them. ‘Certain paradigms are encoded into texts and others are left out in order to give a preferred representation’ – Levi Strauss 1958
  • Representation is how stereotypes are constructed.
  • Representation can also be influential to gender/ethnicity/class etc.

I know from past experience that one of the textbooks that will help me further my knowledge and understanding of representation if I choose to pursue this area is Stuart Hall’s Representation book.  

I have already decided the topic I am going to focus on is disability. This is an area that I believe is poorly represented in the media at present and is a subject that is becoming more widely talked about. As it is an issue that affects me personally, I know I will enjoy researching this matter more. An idea I could expand on using this area of study is:

The representation of disability in the media.

Further research material from todays lecture can be found here: ideology  orientalism