You are here

Understanding Representation

Understanding Representation

  • Jen Webb - University of Canberra, Australia

© 2009 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"This is an extraordinarily lucid book. I am not sure that there is anyone who can do this sort of thing better than Jen Webb. It is a gift to students; extremely accessible yet complex and sophisticated in its treatment of theories and concepts of representation."
- Jim McGuigan, Loughborough University

Understanding Representation offers a contemporary, coherent and genuinely interdisciplinary introduction to the concept of representation. Drawing together the full range of ideas, practices, techniques and disciplines associated with the subject, this book locates them in a historical context, presents them in a readable fashion, and shows their relevance to everyday life in an engaging and accessible manner. Readers will be shown how to develop a sophisticated attitude to meaning, and understand the relationship to truth and identity that is brought into focus by communicative practices.

With chapters on linguistic and political representation, art and media, and philosophical and cognitive approaches, this book:

  • Guides readers through complex theoretical terrain with a highly readable and refreshing writing style.
  • Explains the techniques and perspectives offered by semiotics, discourse analysis, poetics, politics, narratology, visual culture, cognitive theory, performance theory and theories of embodied subjectivity.
  • Covers the new ideas and practices that have emerged since the work of Barthes, Eco and Foucault - especially communication and meaning-making in the digital environment, and the new paradigms of understanding associated with cognitive theories of identity and language.
  • Teaches readers how to interpret and interrogate the world of signs in which they live.

Understanding Representation provides students across the social sciences and humanities with an invaluable introduction to what is meant by 'representation'.

Resemblance, Representation and Reality
Language and Representation
Representation and the Subject/The Subject of Representation
Representation and the Political World
Representation in the Consciousness Industries: Art and the Mass Media
Conclusion: Representation and Ethics: The Problem of the Gap

'Understanding Representation' provides a clear introductory text to students who wish to explore issues of representation in their research. Providing engaging examples and exploring multiple forms of representations, this text allows students to develop an understanding of the term 'representation' - and what this means for their research.

Dr Joanna Vearey
African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand
March 2, 2012

Great book, but too advanced for my first-year course, sorry.

Dr Christopher Wilson
Architecture, Izmir University of Economics
July 19, 2011

A very good, concise and useful book on representation - written in such a way that undergraduates and researchers will easily understand, without losing the intellectual drive.

Professor Andrew Melrose
English, Creative Writing and American Studies, Winchester University
September 14, 2010

I wanted a book that helped students address issues of representation in popular culture. Webb brings up good examples, but students not familiar with cultural studies got confused/alienated by her name-dropping. I may use it again in the future, but will keep trying other books.

Dr Kristina Boylan
School Of Arts Sciences, Suny Institution of Technology
May 17, 2010

Understanding Representation has been recommended to the students of Issues in Representation. The book perfectly demonstrates perceptions and meanings regarding the common sense of the act of representation and what also exists beyond common sense. The structure of the book and its particular emphasis on language and politics will help students to understand representation as an object and as a process and will help them to contextualise the importance of the philosophical work contained in Images: A Reader

Dr Kostas Maronitis
Creative, Critical and Communication Studies, School of Humanities, Greenwich University
October 19, 2009

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction PDF

Chapter One PDF

Preview this book

For instructors

Please select a format:

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781412919197
ISBN: 9781412919180

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.