Representation Matters In Semiotic Approach Cultural Studies Essay

Harmonizing to Hall ( 1997 ) , ‘Representation is the production of the significance of the constructs in our heads through linguistic communication. [ … ] The relation between things, constructs and marks lies at the bosom of the production of intending in linguistic communication. [ … ] Language is hence the system of representation involved in the overall procedure of building significance. ‘ His representation survey is lighted with wisdom from Saussure ‘s theory whose important part was the point of manner of marks the significances production, negative of contemplation or intentionality and edifice up the constructionist attack. For Saussure, the production of intending depends on linguistic communication and to be a mark system, linguistic communication was associated this two component – the form and the signified. ( Culler,1976, cited in Hall,1997 ) Saussure gave his theoretical account of representation switching from linguistics to semiologies. Peoples fix the significance by the form correlating with the signified which at the same time involves our cultural and lingual codifications and this is the procedure to accomplish the representation every bit good. In Saussure ‘s survey, the accent was put on the assorted general regulations and codifications of the lingual system. The connexion provided by the codifications between the form and the signified produced marks ; and marks, organized into linguistic communications, created significances. This formed the manner to constructionist idea.

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Subsequently with the development of Myth theory which was based on the theoretical account of representation provided by Saussure, Roland Barthes, the Gallic critic, suggests that marks can be constructed into degrees. ‘The first, completed significance maps as the form in the 2nd phase of the representation procedure, and when linked with a wider at that place by a reader, yields a 2nd, more luxuriant and ideologically framed message or significance. ‘ ( Hall,1997:39 ) Barthes called the 2nd degree of meaning the degree of myth or meta-language. These two theories indicate the semiotic attack provides a method for analysing how representations convey significance.

Hall uses the construct of representation to discourse the beginning of the object ‘s cultural significance and analyzes that the objects by themselves do non intend anything ; significances are generated and constructed by linguistic communication or other cultural marks processed through linguistic communication. He defined representation ‘is the production of the significance of constructs in our heads through linguistic communication. It is the nexus between constructs and linguistic communication which enables us to mention to either the existent universe of objects, people or events, or so to fanciful universes of fictional objects, people and events. ‘ ( Hall,1997:17 ) In brief, representation is the process of linking with objects, conceptual map in our head and linguistic communication cultural symbols. There are two representation systems bing. In the first system, mental representations which we carry about in our caputs present assorted objects and turning to the 2nd system a set of marks stand for these conceptual maps. Furthermore, the patterns of representation imply ‘the embodying of constructs, thoughts and emotions in a symbolic signifier can be transmitted and meaningfully interpreted. Meaning must come in the sphere of these patterns, if it is to go around efficaciously within a civilization. ‘ ( Hall,1997:10 ) With the combination of Hall ‘s theory, representation can be regarded as presenting objects through linguistic communication or other symbols and bring forth some comparative cultural significances and values ; moreover representation has a portion in production, generation, exchange and circulation of the whole cultural significances and values system.

Under the model of Hall ‘s theory, the significance of representation pattern is that it is involved in the production and circulation of cultural significances and values system. He defines civilization as a sharing significance or a sharing conceptual map. That reveals civilization is merely like intending sea and societal or group members are like fish in it ; they produce and exchange from each other. This position is fundamentally rooted on civilization construct of Raymond Williams who regards as ‘a peculiar manner of life, which expresses certain significances and values non merely in are and larning but besides in establishments and ordinary behaviour ‘ . ( 1961:41 ) Hallway so transformed Williams ‘ ‘meanings and values ‘ into more symbolic significances and familial Williams ‘ cultural philistinism on civilization position and map. Culture has been judged as a fact with economic system and political relations to build the whole society production alternatively of a negative contemplation or accoutrement for economical and political procedure. Cultural significances and values system have pattern consequence to construct up regulations, criterions and imposts which regularize societal life and order human behaviour. After being decoded, the significances and values in cultural representation production alteration into consciousness and pattern. Given this definition, Hall ‘s cultural representation theory high spots the countries of cultural symbols in societal life in an of import place.

The Politics — -the dianoetic attack

In French philosopher Michel Foucault ‘s research, he prefers sing representation as an beginning of societal cognition production and put accent on the method of cognition produced by discourse instead than Saussure ‘s lingual theoretical account which focuses on the representation procedure itself. Comparing with the semiotic attack, Foucault ‘s theory steadfastly bases on history and pays more attending on historical specificity. He concerned dealingss of power, non dealingss of significance, so the chief affair changed from linguistic communication to talk about.

Discourse, power and the topic is three major thoughts demonstrated by Foucault about the dianoetic attack to representation. ( Hall,1997:43 )

The first term-discourse was treated as a representation system by Foucault. He points out that the object has its nonsubjective being, but except discourse the object has no significance. In another word, merely when the object is in its discourse can it be the mark to knowledge. The being of discourse demands historical context which means, in each period, the mode of cognition produced by discourse and its object, capable and pattern is dramatic changed over clip and vitally there is no necessary connexion in. For illustration, in our ascendants ‘ linguistic communication construction they explained natural phenomenon like windy, rainy and boom by fairy narrative or the method of imaginativeness, by contrast, we today explain them by scientific or observation manner. It is more singular in the peculiar societal individuality and moralss significances made up by human linguistic communication construction: male and female, white and black, swayer and ruled. They all changed with society and civilization changed.

Talking about the construct of power and cognition, Foucault ‘s position is different from the theory of Marxism. Foucault believes that in all of authoritative Marxism, relationship between cognition and power simplified to a category of power and category involvements was due to set up its ain truth construct. ( Hall,1997:48 ) Although Foucault did non deny the being of categories, he did non believe beyond any discourse game at that place existed truth. His definition of the political orientation is similar on Gramsci ‘s cultural hegemony theory. Introducing the theory of political orientation into representation theory embodies Hall ‘s opposition and critical consciousness of coarse Marxist theory on political orientation and economic determiners. Furthermore, in Foucault ‘s sentiment, cognition and significance of an object are non merely related to their discourse but besides related to dominant power and ‘power does non work in the signifier of a concatenation – it circulates. It is ne’er monopolized by one Centre. It is deployed and exercised through a net-like organisation. ‘ ( 1980:98 )

Discourse produces the topic by itself ; on the other manus, it produces a place for the topic like reader and spectator. In the cultural representation system, there is a broad assortment of capable places for case the submissive married woman and obedient slaves and there are many characters who are regarded as good, such as the image of Faust, Prometheus and Confucius. Although our individualities are constrained by the structural relationship of societal order, these images transporting cultural significance and values can be cultural resources which set up and update our ain subjectiveness. Overall, the cultural representation system is the mainstream values and political orientations of production and operation of the site, and it is the chief societal single symbolic resource in its ain transcript of the values of civilization and political orientation. However, there are some cultural texts manage an unnatural discourse and pattern in its representation to make a batch of rebellion, revolution, anomalousness and even unreasonable characters. These characters tend non to follow the regulations and interrupt the old, out-of-date values and individualities so that they or their representatives go a new societal order or a new value of the cultural heroes, such as a rebellious slave consciousness or a self-aware adult female. It allowed us to acknowledge that cognition is ever a signifier of power.

Concluded from the two approaches-the semiotic attack and the dianoetic attack, the construct of representation, from a cultural point, is a cultural significance creative activity by assorted symbols in the text or image and this procedure is involved in the whole field of the production and distribution of cultural symbols ; representation no longer analyses the extension of power dealingss in the field of symbolic representation through epistemic sense of right and incorrect, but on the angle of discourse power, intending debate and symbol distribution in cultural representation field ; representation emphasizes the societal environment and cultural establishments of cultural representation pattern and see a cultural text as a symptom doing out of the full societal and cultural environment which implies a sociological position to analyse the way of cultural representation issues ; representation focuses on the cultural symbols involved in existent life map, while representation is the manner for the value construct which is produced in societal life to flux in the field of cultural symbols and it is the chief symbolic resource for societal single organizing their ain individuality. Peoples are mostly dependent on the capable place in cultural representation to be a adult male or a adult female, as a specific individual. In this sense, representation concepts our universe of significance.


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