Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture
Oxford University Press
This comprehensive and engaging introduction to visual culture provides an overview of a range of theories about how we understand visual media and how we use images to express ourselves, to communicate, to experience pleasure, and to learn. Using over 175 illustrations, Professors Sturken and Cartwright examine how images - paintings, prints, photographs, film, television, video, advertisements, news images, the Internet, digital images, and science images - gain meaning in different cultural arenas, from art and commerce to science and the law, how they travel globally and in distinct cultures, and how they are an integral and important aspect of our lives. These images are analyzed in relation to a range of cultural and representational issues (desire, power, the gaze, bodies, sexuality, ethnicity) and methodologies (semiotics, marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, postcolonial theory). Practices of Looking provides an explanation of the fundamentals of these theories while presenting visual examples of how they function.Central concepts such as ideology, the concept of the spectator, the role of reproduction in visual culture, the mass media and the public sphere, consumer culture, and postmodernism, among others, are explained in depth and in accessible, informative language. Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright provide the best introductory book for students coming to the study of visual culture for the first time. Truly interdisciplinary, this book aims to be the key text for courses across a range of disciplines including media and film studies, art history, photography, and communication media.
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