Aquarius and institutional racism: A semiotic analysis and the use of racism within media representations
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Within this thesis the concept of institutional racism has been analyzed within the first season of AQUARIUS. The reason this thesis has researched representation lies in the fact that, among other system of communication, representation forms our culture by exchanging meaning and language as Stuart Hall notes. Within media representations the representation of institutional racism has been troublesome, as it often has been too focused on personal prejudice instead of focusing on the structure of an organization. Through Barthes´ take on semiotics, which he called mythologies, the research question has been answered of what signifiers represent institutional racism and how this reflects upon other media representations. Next to the term of institutional racism the terms of institutional sexism, internalized racism, and passing have been researched within this thesis as these concepts can be considered effects of institutional racism. Within the analysis there has been focused on how a dominant ideology is sustained within the Los Angeles Police Department within AQUARIUS through three sub questions. These sub questions focus on ´others´ within the Los Angeles Police Department within AQUARIUS, on the treatment of African-American citizens within AQUARIUS and lastly on how the dominant ideology is sustained within the Los Angeles Police Department within AQUARIUS. These found signifiers have, in the results sections, been grouped back into three dominant group of signifiers to see what the representation of institutional racism within AQUARIUS consists of. These groups are concluded to be ‘community-control’, ‘preferred-action’, and ‘razzing one another’ which all allow institutional racism to sustain within the Los Angeles Police Department within AQUARIUS.