Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices
Representation - the production of meaning through language, discourse and image - occupies a central place in current studies on culture. This broad-ranging text offers a comprehensive outline of how visual images, language and discourse work as 'systems of representation'. Individual chapters explain a variety of approaches to representation, bringing to bear concepts from semiotic, discursive, psychoanalytic, anthropological, sociological, feminist, art-historical and Foucauldian models of representation. They explore representation as a signifying practice in a rich diversity of social contexts and institutional sites: the use of photography in the construction of national identity and culture; other cultures in ethnographic museums; fantasies of the racialized 'Other' in popular media, film and image; the construction of masculine identities in discourses of consumer culture and advertising; and the gendering of narratives in television soap operas. The book analyzes contested and critical questions of meaning, truth, knowledge and power in representation, and the relations between representation, pleasure and fantasy. Combining illustrative examples with activities and selected readings, accessible but not simplified, the book offers a unique resource for teachers and students in cultural studies and related fields as an introduction to this complex and central theme.