You are here

Term ‘representation’ in the discourse of media researchers: attempt of conceptualization of the term

Научные исследования: 


For citation: Dontsov A., Aslanov I. Term ‘representation’ in the discourse of media researchers: attempt of conceptualization of the term // Mediascope, 2022. 2. Available at:


© Alexander I. Dontsov
Doctor of Philology, professor at the Chair of social psychology, Facultu of psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia),


© Ivan A. Aslanov
PhD, researcher at the Chair of sociology of mass communications, Faculty of journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia),



This paper analyzes the meaning of the term ‘representation’ in the discourse of modern media studies. We show that this term can be understood in several dimensions at once: on the one hand, as a set of events and facts selected by the participant of communication to construct a media image of a particular social phenomenon, on the other – as an arsenal of techniques, methods, linguistic means used by the author when creating an image of reality and describing the already selected factual material. Using the example of the most cited publications in the scientific field, it is shown that representation is perceived by researchers as a constructed image that performs a number of social functions of media communication. In conclusion, based on the theories of S. Moscovici and B. Hoyer, we propose to consider media representations as social representations, and also describe the advantages and disadvantages of such optics in the context of tasks solved within the scientific field of media research.

Key words: representation, social representation, media representation



Andreeva G.M. (2005) Psikhologiya sotsial'nogo poznaniya: ucheb. posobie dlya vysshikh uchebnykh zavedeniy [Psychology of social cognition: study guide for higher education schools]. Moscow: Aspekt Press Publ. (In Russian)

APA Dictionary of Psychology (n.d.) URL:

Barzilai-Nahon K. (2009) “Gatekeeping: A critical review”. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 43: 433–478.

Biblieva O.V. (2007) Molodezhnyy sleng kak forma reprezentatsii molodezhnoy kul'tury v sredstvakh massovoy informatsii [Youth slang as a fom of representation of the youth culture in the media]. Vestnik Tomskogo gos. un-ta 304. (In Russian). Available at: (accessed: 28.07.2022).

Brookes R., Lewis, J., Wahl-Jorgensen K. (2004) The Media Representation of Public Opinion: British Television News Coverage of the 2001 General Election. Media, Culture & Society 26 (1): 63–80.

Carlyle K., Slater M., Jennifer L. Chakroff J. (2008) Newspaper Coverage of Intimate Partner Violence: Skewing Representations of Risk. Journal of Communication 58 (1): 168186.

Cho Y. (2009) Unfolding sporting nationalism in South Korean media representations of the 1968, 1984 and 2000 Olympics. Media Culture & Society 31 (3): 347–364.

Corbett J.B., Durfee, J.L. (2004). Testing Public (Un)Certainty of Science: Media Representations of Global Warming. Science Communication 26 (2): 129–151.

Daniels, E. A., Wartena, H. (2011) Athlete or Sex Symbol: What Boys Think of Media Representations of Female Athletes. Sex Roles 65 (7–8): 566–579.

Dankova N.S., Krekhtunova E.V. (2020) Reprezentatsiya pandemii v SMI: metaforicheskiy obraz voyny (na materiale amerikanskikh gazet) [Representation of the pandemic in the media: metaphorical image of a war (on the material of American newspapers)]. Nauchnyy dialog 8. (In Russian). Available at: i-metaforicheskiy-obraz-voyny-na-materiale-amerikanskih-gazet (accessed: 28.07.2022).

Demina I.N., Shkondin M.V. (2021) Zhurnalistika v mire povsednevnosti: slagaemye konventsional'noy tselostnosti kak faktora preodoleniya konfliktov [Journalism in the world of daily routine: components of conventional integrity as a factor of coping with problems]. Vestnik Volzhskogo un-ta im. V.N. Tatishcheva 1 (34): 134–143. (In Russian)

Dixon T.L., Linz D. (2000) Race and the Misrepresentation of Victimization on Local Television News. Communication Research 27 (5): 547–573.

Domke D., McCoy K., Torres M. (1999) News Media, Racial Perceptions, and Political Cognition. Communication Research 26 (5): 570–607.

Dontsov A.I., Emel'yanova T.P. (1987) Kontseptsiya sotsial'nykh predstavleniy v sovremennoy frantsuzskoy sotsiologii [Concept of social representations in the modern French sociology]. Moscow: Moscow St. Univ. Publ. (In Russian)

Dunn K. (2015) Voice, representation and trust in parliament. Acta Politica 50 (4): 171–192.

Efanov A.A. (2017) Media-reprezentatsiya protestnykh nastroeniy v zerkale sotsiologii. [Media representation of protest sentiments in the mirror of sociology]. Izvestiya vuzov. Sotsiologiya. Ekonomika. Politika 2. (In Russian). Available at: (accessed: 28.07.2022).

Emel'yanova T.P., Shmidt D.A. (2021) Sotsial'nye predstavleniya o brachnom partnere: pokolencheskiy podkhod [Social representations about a spouse: generation approach]. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo 12 (1):126–142. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2021120109 (In Russian)

Entman R. (1994). Representation and reality in the portrayal of Blacks on network television news. Journalism Quarterly 71, 509–520.

Entman R.M. (1993) Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of communication 43 (4): 51–58.

Erjavec K. (2001). Media Representation of the Discrimination against the Roma in Eastern Europe: The Case of Slovenia. Discourse & Society 12 (6): 699–727.

Feldman L., Hart P. S., & Milosevic T. (2017). Polarizing news? Representations of threat and efficacy in leading US newspapers’ coverage of climate change. Public Understanding of Science 26 (4): 481–497.

Gladkova A.A., Aslanov I.A. (2020) Osobennosti osveshcheniya Strategii gosudarstvennoy natsional'noy politiki Rossiyskoy Federatsii v federal'nykh i regional'nykh SMI [Features of coverage of the strategy of state national policy of the Russian Federation in federal and regional media]. Vestnik Tomskogo gos. un-ta. Filologiya 64: 290–312. (In Russian)

Harper C., Hogue T. (2014) The Emotional Representation of Sexual Crime in the National British Press. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 34 (1).

Henderson L., Kitzinger J. (2001) The human drama of genetics: ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ media representations of inherited breast cancer. Sociology of Health and Illness 21 (5): 560–578.

Hepp A. (2012) “Mediatization and the 'molding force'of the media”. Communications 37 (1): 1–28.

Höijer B. (2011). Social Representations Theory. A New Theory for Media Research. Nordicom Review 32 (2): 3–16.

Lakoff Dzh., Dzhonson, M. (2004) Metafory, kotorymi my zhivem [Metaphors we live]. Moscow: LKI Publ. (In Russian)

Leavitt P (2015) “Frozen in Time”: The Impact of Native American Media Representations on Identity and Self-Understanding. Journal of Social Issues 71 (1): 39–53.

León B., Erviti M.C. (2015) Science in pictures: Visual representation of climate change in Spain’s television news. Public Understanding of Science 24 (2): 183–199.

Lewin K. (1943) Forces behind food habits and methods of change. Bulletin of the National Research Council 108: 35–65.

Lippman U. (2004) Obshchestvennoe mnenie [Public opinion]. Moscow: Institut fonda “Obshchestvennoe mnenie” Publ. (In Russian)

Lisser I., de Smaele H. (2020) Faceless: The visual representation of overweight people in Flemish and Dutch online newspapers. World of Media. Journal of Russian Media and Journalism Studies 2: 5–19. DOI: 10.30547/worldofmedia.2.2020.1

McGarty C., et al. (2015) “Social Categorization.” International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Pp. 186–191.

McKay F., Thomas S., Blood R. (2011) ‘Any one of these boat people could be a terrorist for all we know!’ Media representations and public perceptions of ‘boat people’ arrivals in Australia. Journalism 12 (5): 607–626.

McQuail D., (2010) McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. 6th edition. SAGE.

Moskovichi S. (1992) Ot kollektivnykh predstavleniy k sotsial'nym (k istorii odnogo ponyatiya) [From collective representation to social one (on the history of one concept)]. Voprosy sotsiologii 1 (2): 83–95.(In Russian)

Oberhuber F., Bärenreuter, C., Krzyzanowski, M., Schönbauer, H., Wodak, R. (2005) Debating the European Constitution. On representations of Europe/the EU in the press. Journal of Language and Politics 4 (2): 227–271.

Olausson U. (2010) ‘Towards a European Identity? The News Media and the Case of Climate Change’. European Journal of Communication 25 (14): 138–152.

Potter J., D. Edwards (2000) ‘Social Representations and Discursive Psychology: from Cognition to Action’. Culture & Psychology 5 (4): 447–458.

Prokhorov A.O. (2016) Mental'nye reprezentatsii psikhicheskikh sostoyaniy: fenomenologicheskie i eksperimental'nye kharakteristiki [Mental representations of psychic states: phenomenological and experimental characteristics]. Eksperimental'naya psikhologiya 9: 23–27.(In Russian)

Radionova S.A. (2003) Reprezentatsiya [Representations]. Noveyshiy filosofskiy slovar': 3-e izd. [Modern philosophical dictionary: 3rd edition] Minsk: Knizhnyy Dom Publ. Pp. 826–830.(In Russian)

Rezanova Z.I. (2011) Gendernaya metafora: tipologiya, leksikograficheskaya interpretatsiya, kontekstnaya reprezentatsiya [Gender metaphor: typology, lexicographic interpretation, context representation]. Vestnik Tomskogo gos. un-ta. Filologiya 2 (14): 47–57.(In Russian)

Sidorskaya I.V. (2021) Ob upotreblenii terminov «obraz» i «imidzh» v russkoyazychnykh issledovaniyakh problemy mediareprezentatsii territoriy [Using of the term ‘image’ in Russian-language studies: issues of media representation of territories]. Vestn. Mosk. un-ta. Ser. 10. Zhurnalistika 3: 26–54. (In Russian)

Sokolova V.M., Koreneva E. (2020). Reprezentatsiya avtora kak znachimyy element vozdeystviya kolonki Arturo Peresa-Reverte [Representation of an author as a considerable element of impact of the Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s column]. Vestn. Mosk. un-ta. Ser. 10. Zhurnalistika 5. (In Russian). Available at: (accessed: 28.07.2022).

Solov'eva D.Yu. (2018) Novyy istorizm i reprezentatsii istorii v tsifrovoy srede [New historicism and representations of history in digital environment]. Vestn. Mosk. un-ta. Ser. 10. Zhurnalistika 4: 26–54. (In Russian)

Stampouli D., Vamvakas V. (2022). The Greek ‘success story’ on the international media representations concerning the pandemic of COVID-19. World of Media. Journal of Russian Media and Journalism Studies 2: 147–176. DOI: 10.30547/worldofmedia.2.2022.9

Steuter E., Wills D. (2010). ‘The vermin have struck again’: dehumanizing the enemy in post 9/11 media representations. Media, War & Conflict 3 (2): 152–167.

Van Gorp B. (2007) The constructionist approach to framing. Bringing culture back in Journal of Communication 57 (1): 60–78.

Young R, Subramanian R, Miles S, Hinnant A, Andsager J.L. (2017) Social Representation of Cyberbullying and Adolescent Suicide: A Mixed-Method Analysis of News Stories. Health Commun 32 (9): 1082–1092.

Yur'evich A.Yu. (2014) Psikhologiya sotsial'nykh otnosheniy [Psychology of social relations]. Moscow: Institut psikhologii RAN Publ. (In Russian)