Dissertation
Dissertation > Culture, science,education, sports > Cultural Theory > Cultural Philosophy

Exploring of Stuart Hall’s Cultural Representation Theory

Author SunYue
Tutor WangZuoCheng
School Shandong University
Course Literature and Art
Keywords Stuart Hall Cultural representation theory Cultural Studies
CLC G02
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 333
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The concept of "representation" appears frequently in contemporary cultural studies, and plays an important role. At the same time, many researchers have seen "representation" as a main object of study. Among them, Stuart Hall’s cultural representation theory is very representative and has a significant impact in the field of cultural studies. But domestic scholarly articles that study his cultural representation theory specifically, systematically and in detail are very few. Therefore, this paper combines text reading, theoretical generalization and feature evaluation, at the same time, collects extensively Hall’s articles that have and haven’t been translated to give prominene to formation and development of his cultural representation theory and basic content and give a systematic, comprehensive introduction and evaluation.Hall uses the way of articulating in his study and has formed the theory of articulation. He nourishes from Saussure’s structural linguistics, semiotics of Roland Barthes, Foucault’s power discourse theory and forms his unique cultural representation theory. He believes that representation is the process that people produce meaning through language (i.e. represent meaning by symbol). This process makes people who use the same kind of symbol system able to convey and exchange meaning. In this sense, people build the world of meaning through representation. Hall analyzes two systems of representation working in the process of representation and chooses to explain the structural way of understanding representation among the three ways (theory of reflection, intentionality, and structuralism). On the one hand, he explores how representation works from the perspective of the symbols; on the other hand, he explores how representation works from the perspective of the power discourse. At the same time, Hall proposes the "cycle of culture" and sees representation as one of the elements. He studies culture as a whole by studying each link of the cycle and practices this method in the case of studying "Sony Walkman". In addition, Hall’s cultural representation theory also involves the problem of cultural identity and cultural hegemony. In the former study, Hall combines his study with his own experience and concerned about diasporas as well as the representation of black identity in special historical period and believes that though using the way of anti-naturalization and anti-stereotypes people can find their identity again. In the latter study, Hall takes ideology into his representation theory and forms his encoding/decoding theory by studying the mass media. He thinks that encoding and decoding are independent and he also imagines three positions (the dominant and hegemonic position, negotiated position, and counter-hegemonic position) in the communication process. In addition, Hall uses his articulation theory in the study of cultural hegemony and thinks that different factors can be articulated and this articulation can be disassembled under certain conditions. Hall’s cultural representation theoiy is unique in the field of cultural studies for its interdisciplinary academic perspective, the cultural perspective of diasporas, as well as the academic openness and political intervention, which not only improves the status of culture and cultural theory, and also makes an important contribution to cultural studies, communication research and counter-cultural hegemony practice. Of course, there are some limitations in Hall’s cultural representation theory. For example, too much emphasis on meaning may easily stay away from economic; the uncertainty of meaning may cause an illusion that meaning changes freely, etc. These require the proper perspective and further Discrimination.

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