A term used to describe how certain people/places/events/issues are presented to us by the media.
It is a constructed 're-presentation' of reality.
It is a way in which the media reflects and presents attitudes, behaviour and beliefs.
Representations vary over time due to changes in culture and society.
What is dominant ideology?
Dominant ideology, when applied to an analysis of representation in the media, is a set of common values and beliefs shared by most people in a given society, framing how the majority think about that group of people. This is quite often in line with a stereotype or an often repeated idea or characterisation of a certain group of people. These views are not an accurate presentation of reality but they are frequently seen and perpetuated in films and other media forms.
How to analyse representation:
You will need to ask yourself a series of questions:
What is the overall representation of the person/group of people in general terms?
Is it strong or weak? Positive or negative? Does it conform to or challenge the dominant ideology attached to that group of people?
What makes you think this?
What other adjectives might you attribute to this person or group of people?
How is the character portrayed?
What do they look like?
Facial expression? Clothes? Hair? Jewellery? Stance and body language?
What do they sound like?
Tone of voice? Sound of voice? Volume? Soundtrack and music associated with them?
How do other characters see them?
What are the reactions of other characters to this person or people? Accepting? Positive? Negative?Violent? Angry? Lustful? Fearful?