MC1114: Representations

School Cardiff School of Journalism, Media & Cult'l Stud
Department Code JOMEC
Module Code MC1114
External Subject Code P300
Number of Credits 20
Level L4
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Jenny Kidd
Semester Spring Semester
Academic Year 2013/4

Outline Description of Module

This module is concerned with systems of representation. In particular, it considers how visual culture, discourse and language work as ways of seeing. It analyzes questions of meaning, truth, knowledge and power in representation, and the relations between them. Unit objectives are: Develop an understanding of various forms of representation and the broad range of approaches to their analysis, explore visual images, language and discourse and how they work as systems of representation. To reflect upon questions of meaning, truth, knowledge and power in representation, and the relations between them, and to apply these different theoretical understandings to television, film, news and cyberspace and to be able to form conclusions based on independent judgement and learning. METHODS OF TEACHING: Lecture, seminar, presentation. METHODS OF ASSESSMENT: Coursework (100%).

On completion of the module a student should be able to

On completion of the module you will have three types of skills:

Intellectual Skills

  • You should be able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of:
    • How we think as media scholars
    • Awareness of how to think critically about media representation
    • the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • You will demonstrate this knowledge in your discussions in seminars and your essays.

Practical Skills

  • You will learn how to view the media and its content critically
  • You will be able to assess and critique published research on the basis of knowledge gained about media research methods.
  • You will learn how to access and use published research both off and online, which will allow you to write an academic literature review.

Transferable Skills

  • You will be able to discuss your ideas about media research in front of your peers, as part of the seminar participation requirement.
  • You will develop advanced research and academic skills which you will demonstrate in your essays and in the seminars

How the module will be delivered

 Lectures and Seminars

Skills that will be practised and developed

How the module will be assessed


Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 30 Short Essay N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 60 Final Essay N/A 1 N/A
Oral/Aural Assessment 10 Seminar Participation N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Week 1          Introduction (David Machin)

Week 2          What differentiates media scholars from media commentators?(David Machin)

Week 3          Studying representations: iconography and the representation of social actors (David Machin)

Guest Lecture: Andrew Blackmore (Librarian for JOMEC)

Week 4          How to write an Essay? (And: What is particularly special about academic writing and referencing?)

Guest lecture: Sam Llewellyn (Royal Literary Fellow at JOMEC)

Week 5          Typography and colour in the image (David Machin)

Week 6          Discourses in language  (David Machin)

Week 7          Case Study research in JOMEC: representation and the war monument (Gill Abousnnouga)

Week 8          Case study research in JOMEC: racism in the media (John Jewell)

Week 9          Genre in Movies  (Ross Garner)

Week 10        What are the differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods?  (Tamara Witschge)

Week 11        Final conclusions

Essential Reading and Resource List

Lutz, C.A and Collins, J.L. (1991) Reading National Geographic, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.  Read Chapter 1 ‘Comfortable Strangers: The Making of National Identity in Popular Photography’

Available as photocopy

Gunter, B. and Wykes, M. (2005) The Media and Body Image, London Sage, chapter 1 ‘Looks Could Kill’   pages 1-12

Available as photocopy

Lockyer, S. (2010)  ‘Dynamics of social class contempt in contemporary British television comedy’ , Social Semiotics20/2  Pages 121 – 138

Can be accessed through electronic journals

Van Leeuwen, T,  (2001) Semiotics and Iconography,  in Van Leeuwen, T. and Jewitt, C.  Handbook of Visual Analysis, London, Sage, pages 92-118

Machin, D. (2007) Introduction to Multimodal Analysis, London, Arnold, Chapter ‘Representation of Social Actors,’  pages 109-127

Machin, D. (2004)  ‘Building the Worlds Visual Language’,  Visual CommunicationVolume 3 number 3 pages 316-336

Available in electronic journals

Bignall, J. (1997) Media Semiotics: An Introduction, Manchester, Manchester University Press, Chapter on Advertisements, pages  30-55

Guest lecture on essay writing and library workshop

Machin, D. (2007) Introduction to Multimodal Analysis, London, Arnold.  Chapters on Typography and Colour

Fowler, Roger (1991) Language In The News. London: Routledge, chapter 1

Available as short loan p/copy.

Richardson, J. ‘Analysing Newspapers: Context, Text and Consequence’, Analysing Newspapers: An Introduction to Critical Discourse Analysis, London, Macmillan, Chapters 1 and 2

Available as short loan p/copy

Aboussnouga, G. and Machin, D.  (2010)   ‘Analysing the language of war monuments’, Visual Communication, volume 9 number 2 pages 131-151

Available through electronic journals

Abousnnouga, G. and  Machin, D. (2010) War Monuments and the Changing Discourse of War and Soldiery, in Jaworski, A. and Thurlow, C. Semiotic Landscapes, London, Continuum, pages, 219-241

Available as photocopy.

Van Dijk, T.A. (1992) ‘Discourse and the denial of racism’, Discourse & Society, 3, pages 87-118


Gledhill, C. (2003) ‘Genre and Gender’ in Representation: Cultural Power and Signifying Practices, London, Sage, pp.351-364.

Branston, G. and Stafford, R. (2004) The Media Student’s Book, London: Routledge, pp.74-102

Neale, S. (2002) (ed.) Genre and Contemporary Hollywood, London: BFI

Bute Short Loan 

Neale, S. (2003)  Genre and Hollywood London: BFI

Bute Short Loan 

Gunter, B. (2000) Media Research Methods, London, Sage, pages 3-6

Klein, B. and C. Wardle (2008) “These Two Are Speaking Welsh on Channel 4!”: Welsh Representations and Cultural Tensions on Big Brother 7, Television and New Media

Ellison, N.B., C. Steinfield & C. Lampe(2007) ‘The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites’ Journal of Computer Mediated Communication , 12 (4),  pp. 1143–1168.

ns on Big Brother 7, Television and New Media

Ellison,N.B., C.Steinfield & C.Lampe(2007) ‘The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites’Journal of Computer Mediated Communication , 12 (4), pp. 1143 – 1168.


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