Understanding Representation offers an accessible, engaging, and genuinely interdisciplinary introduction to the concept of representation. Drawing together the ideas, practices, and techniques associated with the subject, this book puts them in historical context and demonstrates their relevance to everyday life. Topics include linguistic and political representation, art and media, and philosophical and cognitive approaches.

Introduction: The Terms of Representation

Introduction: The terms of representation

‘Representation’ is a remarkably common term. It is used in many different fields, professions and domains; it pops up on the news; it even makes an appearance in everyday conversations. It should, therefore, be a very familiar term, easily understood by anyone. A quick examination of any dictionary, or of the super-dictionary that is the internet, will provide a number of definitions of representation. Some are philosophical in scope: for instance, explanations of what Kant wrote about representation. Some are more or less linguistic: discussions of how meanings are made through the production and organization of signs. Others are ethnographic, or anthropological: analyses of how people from other cultures make meanings and ascribe values. Because the ...

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