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The Theoretical Concept of Exnomination and Otherness

This paper will emphasize the concept of media representation and its factor which impacts the society. The analysis of theoretical concept of exnomination and others which was introduced by the theorist Ronal Gerad Barthers who was a philosopher of the twentieth century who helped to critically develop the understanding of the concept and the influencing factor of media and mass communication. Also, this paper will explain the theoretical concept and its representation with the existing social categories and groups of the society and the relation with the prioritized group. The impact and the influencing factor of the concept help to understand and determine the challenges and the stereotypes which can be observed by the mainstream media.

‘Exnomination’ and ‘others’ these two concepts of the theory that help to explain the analysis of various signs and messages which are associated with popular culture and media. Media is a medium that influences the whole human society irrespective of the social category; mainly, it influences to represents the idea of certain social groups and minority groups, which impact the way of thinking the society perceives. The French semiotician and a philosopher of the 20th century, Ronal Gerard Barthes, have critically explained about this concept which was introduced in his writing Mythologies (1957) (Stafford, 2015). Other theorist and philosophers of that time, like Jean Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir, also contributed their ideas about “others,” which influenced Roland Barthes to explore and develop his idea of “exnomination” and “other” in mainstream media and communication. These two concepts help to critically analyze the media communication and media texts that question and evoke the stereotypes of the society regarding the social class.

The term exnomination was coined by the theorist who gave the explanation of this concept which helps to refer to the way in which the upper social class of the society who is a privileged and prioritized social group of the society. This phenomenon of privileged and prioritizing a particular social group can be influenced by the mainstream media, which can be referred to as exnomination. This concept helps this particular social group to be tagged as a normalized group who have to naturalize ideologies and maintain the hegemony. This dominant approach enables us to identify the privileged groups as normal who have the capacity to rule the society and be in the society as an ‘unnamed’ or ‘ex-nominated’ group. The media helps to identify them as the normal group of the society, and the remaining people who are less privileged or not privileged are considered as ‘other’ in this society with the help of mass media and communication. This approach of identifying can be done by the popular culture and media. This tag ‘other’ represents the idea that those social groups are not important in society and are inferior (Ouellette, 2015).

Mainstream Media and Its Role in Constructing Social Categories and Stereotypes

Contemporary mass media works as the basis of the social construction of any social thought, which develops the idea among the people of the society. The media have the power to seek attention from the public and to create an idea about any particular idea (Combs et al., 2020). For publicity of any issue and concept, media plays a major role. Generally, mainstream media often gives the option to prioritize people on the basis of their power and dominant ideologies. Being privileged and having this option is not relevant or all the social groups. Thus, for maintaining a proper hegemony of the whole society and providing the information correctly is important to build an understanding, especially about the minority groups of the society. Minority groups and the lower-class people are often sidelined and described as the social groups who have not any important contribution to this society which left a negative impact on the society. The media representation helps the society to develop the stereotypical image of the minority groups. The under-representation of the minority group in the society portrayed by the mainstream media develops the concept that minorities are the problem of society and adornments. Thus, representation and providing accurate information to build a positive impact and powerful educational knowledge on the audience about the minority and the lower-class group is important and crucial.

An example of exnomination and others in the mainstream media is portraying the minority and lower-class groups. The news and media which cover minority groups usually give negative information about them so, which naturally negatively influences human society. The stories and news about them are mostly associated with the negative approach, which is based on minority groups and became popular and negatively influenced the people a lot. People from the dominant group are never labelled through the news and media because of their power (Kulaszewicz, 2015). This type of news and approach has the capacity to damage society and to create negative stigmas about specific communities, which affect the human society and harmony of the larger society. Sociologically, the labelling theory explains that the people who get labelled very often have the potential to create their mindset to do such activities so that they get labelled. This negative information not only has a negative impact on the ex-nominated people but also it affects the mentality and influences the minority people of the society. Thus, fair media representation by providing correct information is important. Such as, people always tend to believe that sport is the sector in which males should get valued, and this department is only for the person who is biologically men. This conventional thinking is created because of the media representation. The media always give attention to and provide information on the men’s sports than women’s sports. Nowadays, many female members are competing and earning through playing. However, this type of news is not getting proper coverage by the news and media to give the information to the society. Such as horse racing is identified as a male sport, but many female individuals compete with male players as well. This type of incident one can observe as an example in the film “Ride like a girl.”

The Impact of Media Representation on Minority and Lower-Class Groups

Another example regarding the media representation is that it does in an explicit way. The media always tends to portray the information of the dominant people. Thus, news channel, social media, and even for entertaining purposes, films always represent the white group of people and their society in a positive way which impact the society to think that the privileged dominant white people have the normalized and best ideologies where the black people do not have their proper identity as they are identified as the “other” of the society. In the beginning phases of the films, black people tried to portray their struggle and their real society, their belief, and ideology with the help of media. However, as the media was controlled by the white people only, they chose the particular story and images of their choice to represent the story of black people (Kulaszewicz, 2015). This racist and dominant behaviour implies that media is owned by the exnominated group of people, and the representation of it is not justified. Thus, racism is likely to reinforce through media representation. For maintaining harmony and to create solidarity between the various groups in society, accurate media representation is needed and essential.

As an example, this can be observed that due to the media representation and trust in the media, western nations and many other nations have different views and perspectives from the Muslim-oriented nation like Pakistan. The media representation is so strong that it helps the audience to build up their thinking and understanding and to create knowledge on the bias of media, which eventually brings up a biased knowledge and increases the difference between the various ethnic groups. Western media portrayed and represented the Muslim and the people as terrorists and coined them with different terms, which helped to increase the racism and islamophobia in the society (Raza et al., 2021). This is the outcome of the media representation, which creates a stereotypical perspective in the society which eventually negatively impact the understanding of the people on a various different subject.

However, from the above discussion, this can be concluded that the media plays a major role in constructing and to create a base of this society. Media representation helps to form the idea and the ideology of different perspectives. The comparison and the negative behaviour towards certain groups is actually an outcome of the negative impact which is created by the media. Mainstream media offers the concept which is in favour of dominant groups and helps to promote the ideology of the privileged class as they get priority among all other social groups. The concept of exnomination and others is explained in this article to create a knowledge and to understand the fact about how media represent information and create stereotypes and negative perspectives about minority groups in the society. Through media texts and media representation, it is clear that it provides the information for maintaining the hegemony of the dominant group, which affects the society negatively. Thus, to create harmony by providing proper information and fair media representation by not lacking it is important.

References:

Borysovych, O.V., Chaiuk, T.A. and Karpova, K.S., 2020. Black lives matter: Race discourse and the semiotics of history reconstruction. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 9(3), pp.325-340.

Kulaszewicz, K., 2015. Racism and the Media: A Textual Analysis. [online] Sophia.stkate.edu. Available at: <https://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1478&context=msw_papers> [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Hassan Raza, S., Zaman, U. and Iftikhar, M., 2021. Examining the Effects of Media-Generated Stereotypes on Receivers’ Trust and Attitude in Pakistan. Moderating Influence of Ethnicity and Gender. [online] Mdpi.com. Available at: <https://www.mdpi.com/2078-2489/12/1/35/pdf> [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Hervey, S., 2016. Semiotic perspectives. Routledge.

Luther, C.A., Lepre, C.R. and Clark, N., 2017. Diversity in US mass media. John Wiley & Sons.

McCombs, M. and Valenzuela, S., 2020. Setting the agenda: Mass media and public opinion. John Wiley & Sons.

Mikhaeil, C.A. and Baskerville, R.L., 2019. Using semiotics to analyze representational complexity in social media. Information and Organization, 29(4), p.100271.

Ouellette, M.A. and Faucher, K.X., 2015. “If You Could See What I See”: The Semiotics of “Invisibility” in Pedagogy and Practice. In International Handbook of Semiotics (pp. 1225-1247). Springer, Dordrecht.

Poulsen, S.V. and Kvåle, G., 2018. Studying social media as semiotic technology: a social semiotic multimodal framework. Social semiotics, 28(5), pp.700-717.

Ross, T., 2019. Media and Stereotypes. [online] Available at: <https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-981-13-0242-8_26-1> [Accessed 30 March 2022].

Stafford, A., 2015. Roland Barthes. Reaktion Books.

Yan, S. and Ming, F., 2015. Reinterpreting some key concepts in Barthes theory. Journal of Media and Communication Studies, 7(3), pp.59-66.

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