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Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Prac
Transcript of Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Prac
Jamaican Cultural Theorist
February 1932-February 2014 (age 82)
Founding figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies
Key Terms: Culture
“But turning up at football matches with banners and slogans, with faces and bodies painted in certain colors or inscribed with certain symbols, can also be thought of as ‘like a language’” (Hall, 5). “It is part of the language of national identity, a discourse of national belongingness” (Hall, 5).
Does the type of language within a media example determine your opinions about the media, and if so, why?
How would you describe culture in the United States as of 2015?
What kinds of outlets do you use for a sense of personal representation and why? (Ex. Social media, fashion, etc.)
Summary of Representation
The reading includes varying definitions of culture, meaning, languages, semiotics, representation and an overview of chapters 1 through 6.
Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices &
Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices
Yiedy M. Rivero
Ph.D., Department of Radio, TV, & Film, Univeristy of Texas at Austin
M.A., Theater, State University of New York at Stony Brook
B.A., Drama, minor in Communications, University of Puerto Rico
Currently teaches at University of Michigan for Television studies, Race and media, Global media
Latino/a, Spanish Caribbean, Latin American, and African diaspora studies
Through the interviews of various producers and show runners who discuss the analysis of Mi Familia in terms of Puerto Rico’s media construction of Race, it is evident that there are mixed messages, mixed races, and mixed feelings about Puerto Rico’s racial identity. This makes sense, since Puerto Rico is a racially mixed society.
Culture is described as, “a process, a set of practices” (Hall, 2), but also as, “feelings, attachments and emotions” (Hall, 2) and, “a ‘way of life’ of a people, community, nation or social group” (Hall, 2). A less abstract definition included is, “widely distributed forms of popular music, publishing, art, design and literature, or the activities of leisure-time and entertainment, which make up the everyday lives of the majority of ‘ordinary people’—what is called the mass culture or the popular culture of an age” (Hall, 2).
Meaning: “we give things meaning by how we represent them—the words we use about them, the stories we tell about them, the images of them we produce, the emotions we associate with them, the ways we classify and conceptualize them, the values we place on them” (Hall, 3).
Key Terms: Meaning
Key Terms: Languages
Languages: “Spoken language uses sound, written language uses words, musical language uses notes on a scale, the ‘language of the body’ uses physical gesture, the fashion industry uses items of clothing, the language of facial expression uses ways of arranging one’s features, television uses digitally or electronically produced dots on a screen, traffic lights use red, green and amber—to ‘say something’. These elements—sounds, words, notes, gestures, expressions, clothes—are part of our natural and material world; but their importance for language is not what they are but what they do, their function” (Hall, 5).
Key Term: Semiotics
Semiotics: “the study or ‘science of signs’ and their general role as vehicles of meaning in culture” (Hall, 6).
Key Terms: Representation
Representation: “The embodying of concepts, ideas and emotions is a symbolic form which can be transmitted and meaningfully interpreted is what we mean by ‘the practices of representation’” (Hall, 10).
Mi Familia—“the first and only locally produced situation comedy to cast black actors into principal roles” (Rivero, 207).
Mestizaje—“cultural and racial hybridity” (Rivero, 207).
Racial formations—“a distinct social structure, and historical and cultural contexts” (Rivero, 209).
Negrito/a= diminutive for black, is currently used in Cuba and Puerto Rico and is sometimes employed as a derogatory reference to black people” (Rivero, 211)
Vernacular, such as “negro, blanco, trigueno, triguenito, indio, moreno, prieto, jabao” (Rivero, 210).
Example in Puerto Rican culture: “Telemundo de Puerto Rico produced the telenovela El hijo de Angela Maria which presented two “black” characters played by white actresses in “blackface” (Rivero, 211). Ended up being popular until 1985.
Representation within the Reading:
Another person who was interviewed made it seem as if, “no racial, ethnic, or power differences exist within the island’s culture” (Rivero, 215).
Mi Familia “was going to deal with themes of racism, social topics such as drugs, everything, everything. Almost nothing has been done, but it is not Paquito’s fault (the producer); it’s Telemundo’s fault” (Rivera, 215).
Have you ever been to Puerto Rico and if so, what did you notice about race there?
Is it possible to not have racism within a racially mixed society? (If yes: why, and if no: why not?)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family's homeland.
Directed by Mira Nair
-What kinds of ideologies are hidden in the film?
-How does the “American Dream” relate to the film?
-What events cause the main character to love America and what events cause him to hate America? How do you think his attitudes have shifted towards America and what attitudes towards America do you think the film concludes with as a whole?