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
- 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
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
- Media can distort our impressions and understandings of gender, race, class, sexuality, etc;
o So...it 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
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
o Who created it?
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?
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