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representational code

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A textual code in any medium which recognizably depicts or describes a referent, whether factual or fictional, plausible or implausible. Texts employing representational codes which are perceived as ‘realistic’ (especially in film and television) can be experienced as if they were recordings or direct reproductions of reality rather than as representations in the form of codes: this is partly a function of the familiarity of such codes. See also constructedness; magic window; photographic codes; pictorial codes; realism; suspension of disbelief.

Subjects: Media studies

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