Re-creational television: The paradox of change and continuity within stereotypical iconography

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Abstract

Speculation abounds regarding the cumulative effect of stereotypical images in the media, especially those effects directed toward ethnic/gender identity. Using images of Black women in the United States as a case study, this paper explores the ways in which three historical stereotypes - Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire - are re-created in current-day television broadcasts. I argue that these recreations influence modern depictions of Black women in important ways. But my analysis differs from other sociological works on stereotypes, as it critically examines three underexplored components of the stereotyping process: (1) the symbolic properties of stereotypical images; (2) the separation of time and space achieved on television; and (3) the use of rigid interpretive frames as means of sustaining stereotypes in this media age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-257
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Inquiry
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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