representation

Representation refers to the way in which images and texts reconstruct, rather than reflect, the original sources they represent. Thus a painting, photograph, or written text about a tree is never an actual tree, but the reconstruction of what it seemed to be or meant to the person who represented it. If it were a tree, it could not then be a photograph, painting, or text.
Representation is an important concept in semiology , linguistics , Marxism , and feminism , and points to an aspect of the way in which meaning is constructed. It can therefore be understood as contributing importantly to social processes. Feminists argue that representation is continually creating, re-creating, and endorsing stereotypical ideas of gender identity . All media images-for example in advertising or cinema-are constructed by somebody, for a specific purpose with a specific audience in mind, although they are usually presented as if they were a ‘slice of reality’. To try and understand what they mean, and how they construct meaning, it is important to examine what lies behind the image or text: who constructed it, where and when, for what purpose, and for which particular audience's gaze . Because watchers rarely have access to this process, images in particular tend to classify complex ideas into apparently simple meanings; they thus deny contradiction and ambiguity, and representations become like myths which are nevertheless accepted as ‘real’. Feminist critics of pornography have used the idea of representation to develop theories of how pornography functions in society, and how it is represented in relation to class, race, and gender (see, The Pornography of Representation, 1986; and, Sociology and Visual Representation, 1994).

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • représentation — [ r(ə)prezɑ̃tasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1250; lat. repræsentatio, de repræsentare I ♦ Action de mettre devant les yeux ou devant l esprit de qqn. 1 ♦ Vx ou dr. Production, présentation. Représentation d acte (pouvant servir de titre ou de preuve). ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Representation — Représentation Pour les articles homonymes, voir représentation (homonymie). La représentation désigne étymologiquement l « Action de replacer devant les yeux de quelqu un ». [1] Cette notion d origine latine garde tout son sens… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • representation — rep‧re‧sen‧ta‧tion [ˌreprɪzenˈteɪʆn] noun 1. [uncountable] when someone else speaks for you: • There has been a decline in union representation in the auto industry. ˌboard represenˈtation when the heads of particular departments or groups… …   Financial and business terms

  • representation — rep·re·sen·ta·tion n 1: one that represents: as a: a statement or account made to influence opinion or action compare warranty 3 b: an incidental or collateral statement of fact on the faith of which a contract is entered into the contract of… …   Law dictionary

  • representation — Representation. s. f. v. Exhibition, exposition devant les yeux. Il intervint un Arrest qui ordonnoit la representation des titres, la representation des titres en original. on le mit la garde d un Huissier qu on chargea de la representation de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Representation — can refer to:* Representation (politics), one s ability to influence the political process * Representative democracy * Representation (arts), the depiction and ethical concerns of construction in visual arts and literature. * Representation… …   Wikipedia

  • Representation — Rep re*sen*ta tion ( z?n t? sh?n), n. [F. repr?sentation, L. representatio.] 1. The act of representing, in any sense of the verb. [1913 Webster] 2. That which represents. Specifically: (a) A likeness, a picture, or a model; as, a representation… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • representation — Representation, Repraesentatio. Representation de quelque chose, Idolum idoli. Representation et imitation de la personne d autruy, Hypocrisis. La representation d une farce, Actio fabulae. Belle representation et apparence de maison, Dignitas… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • representation — représentation фр. [рэпрэзантасьо/н] representation англ. [рэпризэнте/йшн] 1) изображение 2) представление (театральное) …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

  • representation — early 15c., image, likeness, from REPRESENT (Cf. represent) + ATION (Cf. ation). Legislative sense first attested 1769 …   Etymology dictionary

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