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Design and Contemporary Culture - Essay Example

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(Name) (Instructors’ name) (Course) (Date) O’Brien, Suzie and Imre Szeman. Popular Culture: A User’s Guide. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2010. Chapter 3 – Representation and the Construction of Social Reality. Constructing a Crisis. In the first section of the chapter, O’Brien and Szeman explain the concept of constructing a crisis as is understood by most today…
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Download file to see previous pages In support of their ideologies, the authors present the case of the crisis of Victoria in British Columbia that saw the rise of teenage violence in the early 2000s. The authors explain how this violence and chaos were brought out as a social crisis in the state after years of hiding owing to the fear of tarnishing the city’s image. The authors also use other cases of youth violence and crime, as well as, the responses towards these situations, in support of their arguments regarding social construction of crises. In essence, the authors explain the role of the media in both, representing the real picture during crisis and its inability to grasp the intricacy of the truth of the crisis1. This first section of the article also explains what is to be covered in the next sections, and facilitates the comprehension of some of the ideas and concepts regarding social construction. Representation. Having introduced the story of youth violence in the first section of the article, O’Brien and Szeman examine the concept of representation as is relates to social construction. The term representation is defined as the social construction of meaning by use of sign systems2. ...
Representation affects people’s thoughts and perceptions concerning certain events, hence its role in social construction. To, further, elucidate their ideas regarding representation, the authors also draw attention to the structuralist theories of representation, as well as, the rules of representation in social construction. As explained in the article, the structuralist theories of representation are focused on the indirect meanings of words and cultural practices, as opposed to, their direct meaning. Put simply, these theories put more emphasis on how words mean instead of what they mean4. O’Brien and Szeman provide the example of the semiotic theory in support of this, and they explain how this theory has had a major impact on culture. Essentially, the semiotics theory consists of two main elements including the langue and parole. The langue is what the authors refer to as the what the meaning is, where as the parole refers to how the meaning is presented. The langue is also associated with the system as a whole as existent on the abstract level, whereas, parole has been closely linked with individual utterances5. O’Brien and Szeman also discuss the rules of representation, and how their application in social construction. The authors explain the rules of representation are quite simple and they involve drawing the line between storytelling and the depiction of actual events. While these two principles may have a relation in social construction, the authors explain that the ability comprehend the role of these two elements in social construction is imperative. It provides individuals with the ability to draw out made up stories from actual realities. To support their argument, O’Brien and Szeman provide ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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