Cultural Studies: 1231683

In this essay, compare and contrast two articles that have been done, which are based on representation.  An argument is constructed by engaging critical thinking and making connections between the two articles.

Both articles demonstrate the word representation, which can be described as a means to symbolize.  In the article of Hall (3), the concept of mental representation is described, which states all people, objects can be correlated with a set of concepts that are already in the minds of people. Hooks (3) described this concept in the context of racial domination. Here, it is mentioned that black people are getting dominated by dominant regimes and they see themselves as others want. It can be seen that the black population takes pleasure in images regarding racial genocide and this describes mental representation. The white supremacist society wants to teach black people to adapt to racism in them. This is now giving pleasure to black to take pleasure in their destruction. Many black people consider images portrayed by non-black people and do not interrogate their perspectives. Hall (21) argued that there is absolutely no relationship between an image that is portrayed and the real things. For example, the letter T.R.E.E.S does not resemble natural trees. Soini and Joost Dessein (167) supported this view and said that the concept and sign of a portrayed image in culture can look straightforward but the matter can be different than it looks.

In both of the articles, it has been said that representation varies with different persons. Sometimes, it can be seen that culture plays an important role to influence a group of people to hold similar representations. Hall (35) has contrasted three different approaches to defining representation. According to the intentional theory, representation can be defined as the intentions of its creator. It means that representation is developed intentionally by people. On the other hand, the reflective approach has mentioned that direct reflection between the signs and the things can create representation. As argued by Alshenqeeti (127), different people rely on different approaches to understand representation and depend on their thought process. On the other hand, as contradicted by Hooks (7), every individual needs to build a revolutionary behavior towards representation. For ensuring this proposed process, one must develop skills to think critically about images. As supported by Duxbury, Garrett-Petts, and Longley (2), people must not rely on their stereotypic thought process about anything. Rather, they need to be prepared to deal with challenges to compare other perspectives of a common thought process. For example, black people must be prepared to face the challenges of getting equal rights to everything.

Among the three approaches of defining reflection, Hall (27) has focused on the theory of constructionists. Constructionists have argued that it matters to differentiate different colors to develop clear representation with colors. For example, one must know the difference between Red and Green to use one of these colors to instruct for Stop or go on. Belfiore (12) have supported this fact and have mentioned that one must identify different letters to form a specific word of their desire. It means that one must know the way to connect signs and language to express their thought process.  Hooks (1) has mentioned a similar approach in his study. It has been mentioned that the image of white people probably has been developed by white people who support their own supremacy. They have identified each signifier clearly to represent their thought process. However, black people have relied on the representation of whites and did not provide their best effort to differentiate different meaningful signifiers. This is the reason for their failure to construct a fair representation of their culture.  As mentioned by Anderson (1121),   black people must think from the viewpoints of constructionists to fight for equal rights. As said by Hall (25), constructionists do not rely on the representation supported by the materialistic world.  Rather, they rely on their skills to develop representation with the help of language and signs.

 Hall (26) has mentioned a good example to make the readers understand the impact of language and culture on the representational system. For example, a traffic signal can only generate red and green color to influence the activity of people on the street. It is a common incident in the materialistic world. As mentioned by Jovchelovitch (2), the majority of the people will follow the significance stated by these colors and will not try to think critically. On the other hand, there are some people who will differentiate these colors into other colors and will try their best to understand the significance of each of the colors. In the paper of Hooks (3), it has been found that, in past eras, the black community has struggled a lot to get equal opportunities within the society. Still, in this modern society, there are several black people, who want equality. These groups of people are following the concept of constructionists about representation. However, Jovchelovitch (10) has mentioned that there are a lot of people, who leave their attitude of taking risks or face challenges. It seems easier for them to rely on the materialistic world rather than differentiating signifiers. These people often consider the wrong representation as genuine. For example, Hooks (7), there are many black people of this modern era, who have accepted the fact of being dominated by the whites. It means that they are against constructionists as they are relying on the misrepresentation of this materialistic world.  

Representation is an essential process through which a proper meaning can be generated and exchanged between different members of a specific culture (DiMaggio, 50). Hall (22), stated that belonging to a culture is to belong to the same linguistic and conceptual universe. It can be seen in the article of Hooks (7), that black people have not interrogated their perspective and accepted the dominant culture of non-black people. The non-black artist never gets committed to creating non-racial and non-sexiest society because they are not ready to celebrate non-white subjectivity. On the other hand, black people have not been able to transform their way of looking and got accustomed to the culture where blackness is shown down and in an inappropriate way. It is necessary to accept the idea of cultural relativism and people need to move from a mindset of one culture to another (Ilie, 280). However, in reality, the black image of society has no boundaries. Hence, it is necessary to build a radical intervention that can help to change the present concept of race and representation (Hooks, 7).  To accomplish this task, black people need to look critically about the image and must show willingness. Both articles have portrayed misconceptions of representation in a proper way.

People have to go through a complex process for representing their thoughts. Hall (17) stated that if a person puts down a glass that was being held, then also thoughts come about that glass after the person gets out of the room. The person can think about the concept of the glass and this is where the representation comes. This is also described in another article where it is mentioned that when someone sees the black looks or thinks about it they feel upset.

It can be concluded that representation is very important because by this process the meaning of something is produced and gets exchanged between different members of a particular culture. Misrepresentation can impact on the image of an individual or race and can create a bad symbol. Racial discrimination can be completely eliminated if a radical intervention is processed by thinking critically about images.

Reference list

Alshenqeeti, Hamza. “Representation of Culture in EFL Textbooks and Learners’ Preference.” Pedagogy: Journal of English Language Teaching 7.2 (2020): 127-135.

Anderson, Ben. “Cultural geography II: The force of representations.” Progress in Human Geography 43.6 (2019): 1120-1132.

Belfiore, Eleonora. “Whose cultural value? Representation, power and creative industries.” International Journal of Cultural Policy (2018): 1-15.

DiMaggio, Paul. “Evolutionary Approaches to Culture in Sociology.” Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 1.1 (2017): 47-52.

Duxbury, Nancy, William Francis Garrett-Petts, and Alys Longley, eds. Artistic Approaches to Cultural Mapping: Activating Imaginaries and Means of Knowing. Routledge, 2018.

Hall, Stuart. “The work of representation.” Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices 2 (1997): 13-74.

Hooks, Bell. Black looks: Race and representation. Academic Internet Pub Inc, 2006: 1-7

Ilie, Emanuela. “Language, Culture and Change IX. Intercultural Communication: Current Approaches, Practices and Representations.” Philologica Jassyensia 15.2 (2019): 279-280.

Jovchelovitch, Sandra. Knowledge in context: Representations, community and culture. UK: Routledge, (2019).

Soini, Katriina, and Joost Dessein. “Culture-sustainability relation: Towards a conceptual framework.” Sustainability 8.2 (2016): 167.