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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 – Representation and Construction of Social Reality.docx

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Ryerson University
SOC 202
Stephen Muzzatti

Chapter 3 – Representation and Construction of Social Reality - Represent: lend physical presence or voice on behalf of a constituency defined by geography or purpose, which such manifestation of presence or voice by the whole of that constituency be logistically impractical or impossible o Cultural theorists understand the conceptual background and framework of one of the key terms to understanding popular culture: representation - Real world relations looks at the codes and sign system – the language that makes representation possible o The process of representation, is the social production of meaning through sign systems and it defines our world both reflect and shape the relations of togetherness and opposition, love and power, that are possible within - The Discourse of Violent Youth o Victoria is Canada’s garden playground and it is also the violent side o “Victoria Secret” found the phenomenon of teenage violence in Victoria, BC  The social crisis had remained hidden because of victims’ fear talking and civic boosters’ reluctance to tarnish the image of the city  They now have hall monitors, camera, uniforms, lockdown drills, creation of boot camps, Youth Criminal Justice Act, Safe Streets Act o We want to use the story of youth violence as a way into talking about representation and the role it plays in the construction of social reality - Signification – The Production of Social Sense o Counter Intuitively: rather than reading stories and stats, read stories are represented has an important role in how the facts of our social life are created o Representation involves the social production of meaning through the sign system, a way of communication, words, gesture, image, musical note, an item of clothing o Conventional wisdom has it that sign systems, or languages, evolve to communicate pre- existing realities  Different languages tell us reality is organized and understood, differently from culture to culture - Structuralism Theories of Representation o Language doesn’t simply mean reflect, but actually constructs our understand of reality emerges from a shift that occurred in the 1960’s in cultural and linguistic theory o Structuralism theories are concerned not with what words or cultural practises mean, but rather with how they mean, according to the structure o One of the first structuralist theory was called the semiotic theory  It is the distinct between langue or parole  Langue: places a limit on what we can intelligibly say  Parole: embodies all kinds of possibilities for making meaning - Mythologies o It talks about how sign system work ideologically to reproduce and legitimate particular social relationship and in addition to the denotative meaning it also assume connotative or mythological significance o Myths are a form of representation that works to express and justify the dominant values of a culture in a particular historical moment o Mythological meaning are generated by juxtaposition of images and words in particular texts o FROM IGLOO TO INTERNET: First Nations gain entrée to the electronic age o On a denotative level, the signs in a headline are easily legible o On a connotative, the message is more complex and it seems straightforward message more open to question  Internet is associated with speed, modern, globalization and they are trying the linked the Internet to the Arctic - Discourse and Power o Discourse: the way speech and writing work in conjunction with specific structures and institutions to shape social reality and it describes a distinct area of social knowledge and the linguistic practises associated with it o Knowledge is constituted through relations of power, which determine what is true, what is true, what value is accorded particular kinds of knowledge o Knowledge is Power o Science, Medicine and law are examples of specific discourse - The Construction of Youth o Media representation of the youth problem are shaped by a variety of separate but over lapping discourses through which we have come to understand not just crime, but also the phenomenon of youth itself  The concept of “youth” is a slippery one  A new social problem whose identification was closely tied to the dominant class’s determination to educate, reform, and discipline the urban working class  The youth, demographic category that is itself thought to be characterized by
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