Thursday, 10 January 2013


Meaning isn't guaranteed in everything you say.  Introduce key themes surrounding semiotics - form a foundation of understanding.

Ferdinand - defined semiology - study of sign systems, by reducing language to sign systems also ushers in the idea of image based signs.  Allows us to understand visual communication, 

Referent - actual thing, concept itself 

Separated the sign/word from meaning, meaning isn't inherent in a sign, there is a separation.  The process of speaking, we decide what we want to say, however language itself does not belong to us, semiotics is a meta-language - a language about language itself.

What do these colours signify?

How about now?
 How about now?
Provides us with levels or orders of significance 
Looks at a theory of themes, objects, signs that are culturally informed

red wine in france associated with class, intelligence, intellectuals etc. no real connection between red wine and intelligence but has been associated with it for years.  Milk in the USA associated with strength, wholesome etc.  

syntagm - a series or collection of signifiers within a 'text' (e.g a sentence)
syntagmatic relations - how signifiers within a syntagm relate to each other 

Paradigm - signifiers that relate through function or relative meaning (e.g. boy/man, male/female)

Associated wit sophisticated men
metaphor can be used within images, an image of one thing can come to represent something else. 

metonym - refer to my car as wheels that would be a metonym, 
metonymy is where a signifier stands in for another to which it is conceptually or physically a part of (displacement)
A part to represent the whole or the whole to represent the part...association along a chain of signification.

Rhetoric -  used within language, particularly politicians, journalists - can be described as the act of persuasion using words, quite often that can go without saying, so subtle your not even aware its working.
The act of effective persuasion using language:
  • politicians 
  • journalists
  • advertisers
  • PR
Photographers - what they want to try and persuade you, what and how they photograph and what ones they pick for communication 

war is bad, the photograph would have us believe its that simple but its not

a prefic used to alter purpose of a practice or system inwards
Meta is a prefix used to alter purpose of a practice or system inwards.
Meta language - language about language
Meta narrative - an overarching narrative of other smaller narratives 

meta-move, movie about making  movie
art work about art, comments on art itself, inwardly upon itself 

term used for the broad application of semiotics/ semiology to a range of sign systems 
Further than the application solely to linguistics 
structuralism emphasises structures or systems of signification
-not what it means, but how it comes to mean
-semiotic linguistic terms/structures act as analogies for other systems

Barthes analyses a range of visual media in terms of their signifying structures:

the photographic message 
the rhetoric of the image
the third meaning 

is a part of post modernism
While structuralism focuses on the structures of meaning in any signifying system...
Post structuralism focuses on the interpreter/reader and the precarious nature of meaning 

disagrees with the lot of assumed grooves of structuralism and semiotics 
not what it is but what it is not, not just about difference but also being deferred 
Where structuralism identified/created structures of signification...
deconstruction aims to dismantle the structures - identifying gaps and instabilities.  Through deconstruction Jaques Derrida challenged 'binary oppositions' which are deeply rooted in our culture and language.
-emphasising what is lost or cast aside 

intertextuality describes how texts are constructs/collages of previous texts
-...when writers write they are also written 

scary movie only has an existence because of what it references 

reality - distorted so much that they no longer represent anything real, the representation comes before the thing itself 

an example, Disneyland is constructed, supposed to mirror fantastical elements of society, but is distorted into a mish mash of nonsense 

An Apple Mac is useful for computer aspects but also useful to say i have an Apple Mac

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