Representation Theory

Representation Theory

A stereotype is something that is a short abbreviation of something such as; particular group or person, something which todays society has learned to live with and proceeds to use to create a more simplified world to live in, and to make titles for people even if they do not know the person or group, yet they have an idea and title already labeled for them, something which is commonly done is people make generalizations for specific people and classes in which we live with today.

Within Disability, the representation of stereotypes changes from what the person if suffering from and  from a media point of view, they’re seen as the ‘different’ kind of person, which is something that has grown over the time in which people with disabilities came onto TV and other Media related subjects, some which is still today a major stereotype for people who have a disability. Relating to working on media, and forms of TV is that “anyone with a disability is known to be a menace to others, just as much as themselves”, something which has made people with a disability not be allowed to work on set or with actors due to the apparent risks that come along with them, this is a case in which is being looked into and changed more and more over the years.

Ideology is a set of ideas that are linked to a possible belief, something which is created by a specific group that wish to give a powerful thought or idea, possibly in the form of a human.  Something that symbolises an outcome and effects the political or public people, a form of policy created by someone, that has been changed or created so that it is held to be a belief.

  • Something that has been created by the media and newspaper, powered by someone with a voice and belief is that people with a disability are ‘handicapped’ and can not work much like a ‘normal’ person, something which todays society has believed and started to follow-up, allowing comments and ideology create titles and categories for people who suffer with such conditions.

Stuat Hall’s theory consists of the idea of, representation is the link and the connection between the language and the culture and the way in which media presents us with it, something which he looked into for his research was the positioning in which the audience were, and the 3 possible ways that we read the text we see on media today. He said that there are three ways in which we can read the media, three of them being;

  1. Dominant Reading – This is the form in which whom ever is reading the text, fully accepts ‘the preferred reading’, some which most people do, with the media and the layout in which they show you the text, in his theory they think the code is normal and is a natural and transparent coding, something which most people believe and do when reading as it’s the way the media has portrayed the text to us, and the way in which we’re forced to read it.
  2. The Negotiated Reading – Someone who uses their own position and adds their own information to the text, although still using the form of ‘preferred reading’, they still think something needs to be changed and allows their opinion to change parts of the text, in which the media has purposely setup to make you think and decide for yourself how you use the information and the thoughts which you’re thinking about on the text.
  3. The Oppositional Reading – This type of reader, has a completely different perspective on the text, and is oppositional relation to the dominant code which has been created from the media in their text, leading them to reject the reading and takes it in a different form to how a negotiated and dominant reading code is processed to the audience, this is something that sometimes is used to make people question a text and make their own decision at the end, and use the text to influence their answer overall, although having an opposite opinion.

I can use this for my personal work, on how I personally want people to feel when reading my analysis on disability on TV and how, they can have their own outlook if they think otherwise, yet at the same time keep a dominant code throughout so that the majority of the people reading the text follow and believe with the facts and information I’m speaking about and using in my final write-up, while focusing on the dominant code, I can also try to include some of the oppositional coding to make people feel as if they were to add their own opinion into the place in which I’ve challenged the reader and to allow them to make their own judgment of the situation or case in which I’m speaking about.


Contextual Information

During the 1990s, politically there were 5 key events that happened, and could impact the way the media acted and worked at the time, from the early 1990s Nelson Mandela was released from prison and became the leader of the ANC, changing the representation of the people Africans, and giving them the right to become a free person and live the life of a white man, although this had already been put in place this was something that began to become equal and media became larger than ever.  Something which change the evolution of the media, was when a man name Tim Bernes-Lee, published his formal proposal for the World Wide Web, and allowed people to link work and other forms of document across the internet to each other, this allowed media to make a new form in which they communicated and meant they could cover more stories and produce more work, and not have the trouble of transporting and sending the information via another method. East and West Germany reunited after the collapse of the Soviet Union and allowed media to make a larger HQ and move to a much larger and dependant country to make the development which was needed to allow TV startings and media based work much more advanced. These were some of the most important years in the history of media, due to the internet and development of Google and Ask Jeeves were founded and allowed people to view the media online instead of on paper, and for advertising to be world-wide.

These years were a hard time for disabled people at the beginning, and for people with Disability when looking to get a job or a role in a TV related show, they were being treated with disrespect and the idea they could not do the same job as a ‘normal’, non-disabled actor can do, something which changed towards the end of the 90s was when the “Training and Equal opportunities in ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5” act was being created as the equal right commitie had realised the lack in which disabled people were involved in media and especially TV at the time;

“Progress was also uneven and generally slow in the employment of disabled people”

At this time, more towards the end of the 90s, the representation of Disabled people had little change, due to the speed in which the act was being put into place, something which was becoming concerning where shows such as Coronation Street and East Enders, such big impacting TV Shows for people to watch, were lacking disabled people, and not enforcing to the people watching the equal and no existing difference to who they are as people, and the capabilities in which they have to do the same job as any other person.


Target Audience


The NRS Social Grading method allows the creators of content to categorise people into different classes and focus on what they are aiming to achieve and for the right selection of people. It was made 50 years ago to “classify readers” and put them into different interests and groups for marketing research.

The way that they put you in the group is the head of the household’s occupation, taking the possible highest paying job in the house and using it to put your family into a category. They don’t use the income to put you into your category, but they use it to locate the “chief income earner (CIE)”, which is then used to find your social grade in society.

The classes for the NRS are;

A – Upper Middle Class – Higher managerial, administrative or professional, further educational

B – Middle Class – Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional, teaching, nursing, further educational

C1 – Lower Middle Class – Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional

C2 – Skilled Working Class – Skilled manual workers, plumbers, electricians or field work

D – Working Class – Semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers, factory workers, machine operators, production line worker

E – None Working – Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners and others who depend on the welfare state for their income.

As an example, they will make a magazine or any sort of article and put a NRS tag on it so that they know who it is made for and who they should be aiming at. The magazine “Rogue” is a ‘A’ class magazine as its more expensive and has a more formal text base to it which is intended to make ‘A-B’ class workers purchase as it makes them feel more superior or classy. – Used to find table information. – Used for dates and information.



In the world, we have made 7 groups of people which everyone will fit into and have their own meaning to how they live life and the decisions they make. These were also used to make marketing research more simple and help us chose who we wish to aim our products at and what they effect will be on that category of person.

The way we put people into these groups is very simple but works for almost anyone, by looking at their classification which is determined by the attitude of someone and their aspirations, just these 2 simple things in some one’s life allows you to be put into 1 of the 7 groups;

The Explorer – Discovering, first to try new products and experience new things, get new ideas, indulgence and instant effect to what they’re looking at

The Aspirer – Materialistic people, new products, reviewer of something new, needs to have the status of having something new (their core need)

The Successor – Strong goals, looking for the high-end brands, wants to have the new product on the market, core need is to have control

The Reformer – Value their own judgements, don’t like to change, vintage collectors, anti-materialistic, seeks authentic brands

The Mainstreamer – Live in the everyday, family orientated people, ‘we’ rather than ‘me’, big family brands, family deal person, value for money

The Struggler – Heavy consumers of junk food, visual learner, visual watchers, physical sensations, seek escape through visual content, drawn in by appearance of something

The Resigned – Older people, Unchanging views, safety and economy, aims to survive in the everyday world, buy the same products, no change in their life, don’t change their view on something

All the above are the 7 ways in which the society have been shaped, making media marketing understand who to aim for and what that selection of people are looking for in their life and what they need. For example, posters that have lots of colour and content are for the Strugglers, they look for content that looks visually good and turns the imagination on to live their life… The most common type of person is the ‘mainstreamer’ which is the person that has no change in life and just wants to live like any other normal person in the world. These are the people that are not willing to take any risks to move on in their life and don’t want to chance losing what they already have.



Demographics, the main method to breaking things up in the marketing research, used across all platforms it’s a very simple process but covers everything and can be easily understood. The definition for the word in a media form would be “The intended group for which something is performed or marketed: the specific group to which advertising is directed”.

There is no real reason for the list that has been created as its purely to be used on how the product or content should come out as… the list of the things that they aim for are;

Age – For different products need different ages groups as not everything is made for all age groups.

Gender – Whether it’s aimed towards male or female.

Ethnicity – Which social group that content is being aimed at or belonging to.

Social Grading – What the persons social grading is, could be based off NRS grading.

Job/Income – What product certain occupations may be interested in, income reflecting on what they buy.

Educational Level – Whether it’s made for someone in further education or in a lower education and more in-formal or formal.

Family Situation/Background – Depending on the situation of your family and if that product can help you or be for you.

Interests – What hobbies or things you’re into and follow, this is one of the main ones as it allows the content to be precise.

This is the list of things that get judged every day when something new comes out as it allows them to aim at certain people and interests which is key in the media world. Used for everything in the world now when it comes to advertising, everyone knows about it and even if you did not understand it or have not seen it before, you would have used one of the 8 points to consider something or sell something on.

Roland ‘Barthes’


The Barthes method of breaking down communication through a visual channel is using the method of the ‘Semiotics’, reading the signs of what is being expressed, for example taking a poster and looking at the true meaning and what it’s trying to tell us in detail.

The method was made by a man named Roland Barthes, he made the book named, Elements of Semiology. Released in the 1967, this is when the new method of Lasswell was created, a more detailed way of analysing visual content.

The method was based off, taking something from a picture and looking at the deeper meaning of it, looking at each picture used in the picture, why it was used and the effect of the person viewing it, looking at the literal meaning of it and what the effect is. Its original use was going to be for analysing pictures and the colours used and how the picture makes you think. Instead it could also be used in text based content, looking at why such words were used and what was the difference on using that word.

Everything was done by the rule of the level of signification on the content that you were analysing and trying to unpuzzle. The highest being ‘Denotation’ which is the signifier is the form of which the person can see, touch or smell, along with hear and taste. When this was found, the next step was to use the signified method which is where you find what it represents and the mental construct is gives the person instead of it just being the thing itself.

Examples of the Denotation and Connotation are mainly on posters and showing why that certain picture was used and the meaning behind it, what the effect of it was and what it makes the viewer thing about the poster in general;

  • Suit – Power, Elegance, Formality, Fear, Unknown, Fortune
  • Mask – Secret, Disguise, Unknown, Fear, Power, Feared
  • Skull – Death, Halloween, Darkness, People, Dead
  • Evening Dress – Elegance, Power, Upper class, Formality, Fortune
  • Gun – Violence, Secret, Unknown, Power, Death, Fear04-spectre_james-bond_poster

All the above is what the method uses to find the inner message to the content that is being analysed, looking at the meaning for everything that is being shown to us and why it has been used and trying to put it all together to make out what we think is trying to be told to us. For the list, above it’s for the film James Bond; Spectre. –  Used the find the dates of when the method was released.




The Lasswell theory was made in 1948 by a man called ‘Harold D. Lasswell’, the model he made was called ‘Lasswells Model of Communications’. The model was only made to cover the basics of the way people speak to each other, but fits into every kind of communication that we use today from advertising to a cover of a shampoo.

The model is made up of 5 stages, he says that to have a conversation with another person, the two people, sender and receiver must understand each stage to communicate to each other. The stages of the model are;

Who – Considering who sends the message, this will impact on the message its self that is being sent. This is depending on the person that is saying it or the company it will always be different as we don’t all communicate the same way when speaking.

What – The meaning of what is being said in the message and the content in involved in the conversation, what is the reason of the message and depending on the way it’s been said, what’s it intended response.

Whom – Who is the audience? Depending on who the person listening to the speaker is, the message can come across as something else… this is the mode of address, whether they take it formally or non-formally.

What Channel – This can be the form of communication that the person speaking is using, and the importance that is has, this can be visual like a poster or an advert which is something they see and take the information in. Another form is direct, a person advertising in the local town, handing leaflets out or a spokesman.

The Effect – Depending on all the other stages this is how the message comes across and the effect of what has been spoke about. This is the key part of any conversation as it’s the final message, how does the person listening use the information or react to it. For example, it could be that they have seen an advert and they are not wondering if that product is needed in their life.