Representation & the Media: Featuring Stuart Hall

Representation & the Media: Featuring Stuart Hall

let me say what's the main theme of what I would say today is I'm going to talk about the the notion of representation which is a very common concept in cultural studies and in Media Studies kinds of work but I want to explore the the idea a little bit and I want to try and say something about how I understand representation working and and why it's a it's a more difficult and more complex subject than it appears to begin with I'm talking about largely visual representation or I'm going to the examples I'm going to try to cite from visual representation but I think what I'm going to say has a bearing on the practices of representation in general I choose visual representation because it's a kind of cliche to say that in one world our culture is saturated by the image in a variety of different forms the image itself whether moving or still and whether transmitted by a variety of different media seems to be you two have become the privileged sign of late modern culture and late modern culture is not only that culture which one finds in the advanced industrial post-industrial societies of the Western world but because of the global explosion in communication systems it is also the saturating medium the saturating idiom of communication worldwide so I think to try and take the idea of representation to the image it is an important question and the cultural studies has paid a tremendous amount of attention in one way or another to the centrality of representations under the practice representation and Media Studies itself is in an obvious sense concerned in part with the variety of differ texts in mind my instant visual text representations which are transmitted by the media but I'm going to stand back from that a bit to begin with and try and look at the process of representation itself now the word has a kind of double meaning even in its common sense in common sense understanding it does mean to present to image to depict to offer a depiction of something else and the word representation or representation does sort of carry with it the notion that something was there already and through the media has been represented nevertheless this notion that somehow representation represents a meaning which is already there is a very common idea and on the other hand one of the ideas that I'm going to try to subvert so I give you the common sense meaning to try to take it back a little bit in what I'm going to say but then that there's another understanding of the word representation which also plays a role in in what we bring to this topic because we speak of political figures as representing us in some way we don't probably say that very often these days because you may not think they represent us very well but they're sort of supposed to represent us and in that sense they stand in for us they are our representatives where we can't be they can be so the notion of something which images and depicts and that which stands in for something else both of those ideas are kind of brought together in the notion of representation now what this idea that that that the media practices among other things represent topics represent types of people represent events represent situations we're talking about is the fact that in the notion of representation is the idea of giving meaning so the representation is the way in which meaning is somehow given to the things which are depicted through the images or whatever it is on screens or the words on a page which stand for what we're talking about and if you think that the meaning that it is given giving is very different from or a kind of distortion of what it really means then your work on representation would be in measuring that gap between what we might think of as a true meaning of an event or an object and how it is presented in the media and there's a lot of very good work which is in Media Studies which is exactly like this you


30 thoughts on “Representation & the Media: Featuring Stuart Hall”

  • The University of Sussex is offering Stuart Hall Scholarship to one student in the Department of Media and Film. The scholarship is worth £5,000 and is awarded as a tuition fee reduction.

  • Anthony Pennings says:

    Thanks for posting this talk. Wish people had easy access to the rest of it. Especially the part on the "look" in advertising.

  • Lol all these old comments are mad about having to learn about that media twists things, and it's important to look at. The recent American election is an excellent example of the media re-presenting things.

  • funny that people complain about Media Studies on youtube, there are plenty of more useless academic subjects than this, religion and art to name just a few, that doesn't mean there not worth studying

  • Jessica Risby says:

    if you don't want to be controlled by some noob like Rupert Murdoch then you should listen up. Oh and anyone can become an app designer.. so there you go.

  • stevenson66666666 says:

    It's beneficial so people can start to actually understand how the media industry works to hold in their capitalistic ideas that are destroying our environment w/ our never ending consumer induced quest for happiness. There are millions of job opportunities in the field of communication studies. Public policy in the government, BOTH consumer and product research for television, radio, magazines, etc. Anything to do with the media, anything to do with societies interaction with it. Hi 21st cent

  • You keep telling yourself this shit is remotely beneficial to the human race as a whole. Get back to me when you find employment in this field. I don't expect a reply back anytime soon.

  • stevenson66666666 says:


    You're totally right, whats the point of studying something that dominates EVERYONES lives? When was the last time you didn't turn on the tv, check your phone, read the news, watch youtube clips, log on to facebook, google something, listen to the radio, see and advertisement. Media has seeped into every single little aspect of our lives. I think it is one of the most important things to study, and understand the complexities of it. Where do you even get off?

  • Debra Buenting says:

    Stuart Hall is a wonderful communication scholar; I'm a big fan. However, be careful not to confuse him with Edward T. Hall, the American anthropologist whose work makes an important contribution to intercultural communication studies. Perhaps ET Hall's most famous work is Beyond Culture.

  • His work is easily the most nonsensical, overcomplicated, pointless excuse for academic study I have ever had the displeasure of "learning". Media cultures is the biggest waste of time, money and effort and should be stripped from academic curriculum across the world.

  • he is very cool, forgive but i thought he was white everytime i would cite him and reference him.. and i guess i have a very different light to what he says now in reference to the fact that now he is black or not completly white… He is honourable and a great and influencial academic.. that i too wish to follow in his foots steps so help me God! South Africa Mosibudi Ratlebjane

  • Asiba The Buffalo Soldier says:

    Its the Cultural Giant
    Stuart Hall
    The most talked about in my experience
    Dr. Burrowes ?
    Nog up yuhself =(Big up yuhself)

  • I attended the University of Birmingham.. unfortuantely about 5 years after the department was closed down, and a good while after the major theorists, Raymond Williams, Hoggart, and Stuart Hall, had left. Indeed, I think they are frequently better theorists than a great number of swaggering arrogant cigar-wielding Parisian-types. You'd rarely catch an English academic mystifying himself quite the way someone like Baudrillard did – it's just not in the DNA.

  • Heh.. interesting to hear that perspective.

    I'm studying in that department. Although, of course, it's just a sociology department now..

    Stuart Hall is one of my favourite theorists, but I've never really been convinced that Cultural Studies is a genuine discipline, distinct from social and political theory.

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