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Media Studies Key Concepts
REPRESENTATION

By Steve Baker Adapted for Sandringham by David Allison and Simon Wallace 2007 edition

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Table of Contents
Mediation .............................................................................................................................1 Mediation — three things to look for ........................................................................................ 2

Representation...................................................................................................................2 What is representation?.............................................................................................................. 2 TASK......................................................................................................................................... 3 TASK......................................................................................................................................... 3 Society, the individual and representation................................................................................. 3 The Reflective view of representing.......................................................................................... 3 The Intentional view .................................................................................................................. 4 The Constructionist view........................................................................................................... 4 Society? ..................................................................................................................................... 5

Stereotypes..........................................................................................................................6 Representation — How we stereotype: ..................................................................................... 6 The four parts of a media stereotype ......................................................................................... 7 Changing representations – Countertypes ................................................................................. 8 Can we ever avoid stereotypes?................................................................................................. 9

Hegemony versus Pluralism...........................................................................................9 Hegemony.................................................................................................................................. 9 Pluralism.................................................................................................................................. 10

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Representing reality
Mediation
Every time we encounter a media text, we are not seeing reality, but someone’s version of it. This may seem like an obvious point, but it is something that is easily forgotten when we get caught up in enjoying a text. If you see a picture of a celebrity kissing her boyfriend, you may find it unsurprising that the picture has been altered and does not show the reality of the situation, but in fact we should bear this in mind whatever we encounter in the media. The media place us at one remove from reality: they take something that is real, a person or an event and they change its form to produce whatever text we end up with. This is called mediation. You should be looking for this with any media text. Think about a new album by your favourite group, for example: this is not just the sound of a few musicians playing together in a studio. Instead, the reality of the sound that they might make has been mediated before it reaches you. Engineers and producers have re-modelled the sound and artists have packaged the album. Newspapers and magazines have reported the group and created a context for the album so that most people probably had an opinion about it before it came out. Once again, whatever sound the group made in the...
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