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Lecture 5

GGR313 Lecture 5 (May 21, 2013).docx

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Jeffrey May

GGR313 Lecture 5 - Images, Representations, and Imagining the City - What impact does media have on city lives? o Screen, print, online - Also, what do media depictions of cities have to do with the real world? o Impact of representations have on the lives of our world - Swanton, Nayak take a materialist approach - Another view is representational o Focus on discourse, representations, images  And how these things affect our ideas of how the world is  Affects our mental map - Imagined geographies o Not HOW IT IS o But HOW WE THINK IT IS o The way we imagine and perceive the world, not factual and objective, it’s what we THINK it’s like and for everyone it’s different - Imagined geographies o Edward Said first used this term to suggest that there was a discursive or imagined distinction between the East and the West o Imagined geographies are closely tied to POWER o Because imaginations DO THINGS  It affects our lives of the world and affect our lives of the cities  Construct social reality - Media representations often reinforce dominant social relations o The stories we tell reinforce the status quo (or what is ‘normal’) - Representation refers to the ways in which meanings are conveyed or depicted (Feminist Glossary of Human Geography) o it also involves the use of signs to indicate something else o ex. The film is not what the thing it’s depicting actually is, but representing what it means - The ‘Real World’? o Debate between representations and the real thing o Ex. Inception’s spinning top o Everyone has their own meanings, imaginations and understandings of the world - Because everyone takes their imagined geography with her or him, everyone is walking around with a different understanding of social reality o A representation of the city in a film or book, or newspaper article is no less ‘real’ than the cit you around in - UFO sighting? - Feminist geographers have addressed the political aspects of representation, suggesting that it is very difficult to represent something and avoid the processes of ‘othering’ or exoticizing difference o This is because there are always uneven power balances in representations  Ex. Spring Breakers actresses can’t control how we perceive the images and they could only control to a certain extent of how they want to be portrayed during the photoshoot - Media can distort our impressions and understandings of gender, race, class, sexuality, etc; o is very important WHO is behind the images... - How is meaning created in a text? o Does the meaning come from the author? o Does the meaning come from viewer/reader ideas? - Gillian Rose attempts to create a methodological framework for critically interpreting visual images (2001) o She suggests that there are three sites at which meaning is created o The site of production o The site of the image itself o The site where it is seen by audiences  Audience reaction might be more important than the intent of the author - Production: o Who created it? o Funding o Director? Editor? - The image itself o What is foregrounded? What is backgrounded? o What is in the image? What is not? o What is emphasized? - Audiences o How big is the audience? o Who is in the audience? Who is not? o How does the life history of the audience affect their viewing? o How does their identity affect their viewing? - Officer Bubbles o Peace
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