Basic Ideas <ul><li>Semiotics is the science of signs </li></ul><ul><li>A sign is something that stands for something else </li></ul><ul><li>Barthes focused on everyday signs that communicate ideological or “connotative” meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Connotation is the ideological baggage that signs carry wherever they go </li></ul><ul><li>Ideologies are the interpretive frameworks or lenses that we use to make sense of the world </li></ul>
The Sign <ul><li>A sign is the combination of the signifier (something that stands for something else) and the signified (the thing that the sign stands for) </li></ul><ul><li>The relationship between signifier and signified is often arbitrary , especially in language. But some signifiers are indicative (e.g. where a cause signifies its effect); and others have an affinity with their signified (e.g. the icon of a pedestrian at a traffic stop) </li></ul>
The Sign System <ul><li>A sign does not stand on its own; it is part of a system of signs (e.g. in order to work, a sign often evokes its opposite , or things it is not : as the word “hill” evokes “mound” and “mountain.” </li></ul><ul><li>Significant semiotic systems are myths that affirm the status quo as natural, inevitable and eternal </li></ul>
Myths <ul><li>Myths are “second order” sign systems that build on existing signs but transform the meaning of those existing signs, converting them into ideological tools. The sign of the first system becomes the signifier of the second. But the second-order sign system undercuts the historicity of the first </li></ul>
Critique <ul><li>Not all connotative systems uphold the dominant values </li></ul><ul><li>Signs can subvert the status quo, at least temporarily, before they are co-opted by mainstream society. </li></ul>
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