Saturday, September 15, 2012

ENGA2 Investigating Representation

I'm going to be teaching the investigation coursework part of the AS course for the first time in a few years, so have been looking around for ideas that might work. What I am hoping is that this post can become a bit more collaborative than the usual ones, with students and teachers suggesting topics and approaches that have worked for them. So, if you are an A2 student who did an interesting topic last year or a teacher of the A spec who has some good ideas about topics from work you've set/seen, please add your comments.

Conscious of the fact that lots of students have gone for celebrity profiles in the past (representation of individuals) and that these are often a bit pedestrian, I've tried to suggest a couple of issue-based topics below, so any other ideas would be very welcome.

Page 3
Institution: is it an institution? Should it even exist?
Issue: sexism, pornography
Social group: women and representation of gender
Suggested text to start off with: Deborah Orr in The Guardian

Event: comparison of reporting on event then and now, with The Sun's coverage being of particular interest.
Social groups: football fans, Liverpool fans/Scousers (regional stereotyping)
Institution: the police
Suggested texts to look at: Neil Warnock on memories of the disaster, The Sun's front pages then and now:

Football fans
Following on from coverage of the Hillsborough inquiry, it could also be worth looking at changing representations of football fans, from the hooligans of the 1970s and 80s through to the prawn sandwich munchers of the 2000s.
Social group: football fans
BBC News magazine article on this
Football Supporters Federation - representing fans

Some other possibilities (updated Friday 28th September):

Pussy Riot
Event: jailing of the band
Individuals: as band members
Issue: protest, feminism
Social group: women, activists
There are some sharply contrasting representations of them in the media too.
The Economist covers it here.
Guardian comment piece.
NME interview with jailed band members
Bad taste tweets?

Jeremy Forrest and Megan Stammers
Perhaps a bit too soon to look at this dispassionately, but now they've been found (apparently alive and well), this case and its coverage - particularly the representation of Forrest in the tabloid press and in interviews with his parents - could be a very interesting one to explore.
This link to the press conference where his parents spoke might be a good place to look.
The Sun's coverage a few days into the story.
Event, Individuals, Social groups, Issues could all be covered here.


Anonymous said...

We start students off with some work on representation of gender (but primarily women, as it is a girls' school). We take a look at an extract from a Mills and Boon novel where the female character is swept off her delicate little feet by a powerful hunk and then compare it with something from a crime novel which features a strong female character. A great exercise to make the point is to switch the pronouns - this can lead to some very amusing sentences but then we question why it seems so funny. Children's literature can be a good source too; representation of girls, for example. We are encouraging more students to use literary sources as they seem to work well.

Dan said...

Thanks very much :-) Good ideas there, especially the pronoun switching.

Beth Kemp said...

For a different type of individuals project, we've had some success with people who've hit the news as victims/suspects of crime (e.g. the McCanns.

For institutions, I gathered some stuff on the NHS and on libraries over the last twelve months or so. I would never have recommended these topics in the past as a bit abstract, but there's been quite a lot of good stuff around more recently.

I love the Page 3 idea. Representations of rape would also be interesting at the moment, but possibly a bit too controversial for some.

Dan said...

Yes, you're right about NHS and Libraries. I suppose we don't necessarily notice that they're institutions until they're under threat from privatisers and austerity-fanatics. Sad...

Thanks for the other ideas. I'm going to update the post with a few more.