Chapter 4: representations

This chapter of The Media Student’s Book explores a key concern of media studies, the idea that media images and forms never ‘present’ the world direct but re-present it. This often happens in ways which have broadly political implications for how different groups and activities are understood and represented in public/political arenas.

Stereotyping and the idea of ‘scripts’ for actions are investigated through short sections on race and ethnicity, including imagery of US slavery; gender and disability, as well as through forms such as comedy and fantasy. The chapter should enable you to discuss 'representability', which partly involves how adequate, now, in an era of interactive and ‘social’ media is the notion of ‘positive and negative’ imagery.

The Case Study offers approaches and material for thinking how very different images and histories of migration are constructed and framed. Discourses around such instances as Somali pirates, refugees, 'the Irish' and British 'mixed race' comedians are opened up. There is also close textual analysis of the drama-documentary film In This World (UK 2002).

As for the other chapters, there is a list of links here as indicated in the book for reference and further study.

A Case Study on Stars and celebrities in East Asian Media is available on this website and may be useful in investigating issues of identity.

A new Case Study called Explore: Flags is now available.

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