Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Daniel Chandler's Representation Theory

Media Representation
(Daniel Chandler)

Representation refers to the construction of aspects of ‘reality’ such as people, places, objects, cultural identities and other abstract concepts.
The term representation refers to the processes involved as well as to its products. For instance, in relation to the key markers of identity - Class, Age, Gender and Ethnicity (the 'cage' of identity) - representation involves not only how identities are represented (or rather constructed) within the text but also how they are constructed in the processes of production and reception by people whose identities are also differentially marked in relation to such demographic factors.

A key in the study of representation concern is with the way in which representations are made to seem ‘natural’. Systems of representation are the means by which the concerns of ideologies are framed; such systems ‘position’ their subjects.

· All texts, however 'realistic' they may seem to be, are constructed representations rather than simply transparent 'reflections', recordings, transcriptions or reproductions of a pre-existing reality.
· Representations which become familiar through constant re-use come to feel 'natural' and unmediated.
· Representation is unavoidably selective, foregrounding some things and backgrounding others.
· Every representation is motivated and historically contingent.

Reality is always represented - what we treat as 'direct' experience is 'mediated' by perceptual codes. Representation always involves 'the construction of reality'. Discuss this statement referring to at least three contemporary British TV programmes.

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