Representation and meaning in disney

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

download word file, 10 pages 1.7

Representations exert a determining influence on the way people think and behave. Within the context of post-modern capitalist society, material representation (the image or commodity) has become inextricably amalgamated with ideological meaning. In this age of consumerism, there exists a mass production of images for consumption and the dominance of their 'exchange value' has managed to obliterate any memory of the original 'use value' of goods . Consequently commodities have become representative symbolic sites of cultural meaning, and thus work to convey dominant ideologies, which establish normative boundaries and act as a socialising agent; influencing values, attitudes and behaviour. Consumerist discourses are replacing moralism , and has led to what Featherstone has labelled the 'consumption logic'. That is the way material goods and images are used to demarcate social relationships, draw lines of social difference and define individual identity . In this essay I will address these issues by looking at two texts that reveal representations as ideologically loaded sites, which construct and influence thought and behaviour.

Firstly I will look at, "The memory and Pedagogy of Disney" by Henry Giroux which analyses visual entertainment (Disney productions) as ideological representation. Secondly I will turn to Nancy Chater's article "Soaking in Enlightened Capitalism" which looks at the deeply gendered and colonial discourses operating in representations of 'The Body Shop'. In this case the consumer product, or commoditiy, becomes a representation of identity and cultural values. These representations reveal the intersection of the cultural and material as a hegemonic practice, which encourages social conformity to the dominant ideology . On examination both these institutions portray an ideology, which is ultimately imperialist and sexist in nature. Both texts explore representations as a problematic site intertwined with tropes of knowledge, authority and power and how these in turn wield social influence upon individual...