Mc1week 10 09

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Newm1001 Media Cultures Lecture week 10
Tracey Meziane Benson

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Mc1week 10 09

  1. 1. Cultural Mythologies Media Cultures NEWM1001 Week 10 - 22 September 2009
  2. 2. Myth <ul><li>‘ Ancient or not, mythology can only have an historical foundation, for myth is a type of speech chosen by history: it cannot possibly evolve from the ‘nature of things … Speech of this kind is a message … It can consist of modes of writing or of representations … photography, cinema, reporting, sport, shows, publicity …’ (Barthes, ‘Myth To-day’, 2000:110) </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  3. 3. Semiotics and Interpretation <ul><li>Ferdinand Sassure’s structure of language: </li></ul><ul><li>Signified object is ‘denoted’ by a Signifier </li></ul><ul><li>(an actual tree) (the word ‘tree’ or in another language …?) </li></ul><ul><li>The combination of the Signified + the Signifier = SIGN </li></ul><ul><li>(the object) + (the word) </li></ul><ul><li>This combination, this SIGN, ‘connotes’ many different meanings, and depending on how many of these we are familiar with, we interpret the sign’s meanings </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  4. 4. A second level of interpretation <ul><li>At the level of connotation and myth, this sign becomes a new signifier. The new signified are all the stories that can be interpreted and linked to the image, and the new sign is the ‘myth’. </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. Sign (1) + Signified (2) = SIGN (2) </li></ul><ul><li>word+ thing stories myth </li></ul><ul><li>referred to </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  5. 5. ‘Reading’ Images <ul><li>Denotation </li></ul><ul><li>The literal meaning of an image, the content what we can see and name as we look at the image. Our description of what the image depicts in a ‘commonsense’ way. What is ‘signified’. </li></ul><ul><li>Connotation </li></ul><ul><li>Wider fields of meaning that can be drawn from the image. The broader semantic field. All the possible interpretations that different people can read into an image – all the different stories it can tell. What the ‘sign’ has to say. </li></ul><ul><li>So let’s look again now at Barthes’ definition of ‘myth’… </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  6. 6. Myth <ul><li>‘ Ancient or not, mythology can only have an historical foundation, for myth is a type of speech chosen by history: it cannot possibly evolve from the ‘nature of things … Speech of this kind is a message … It can consist of modes of writing or of representations … photography, cinema, reporting, sport, shows, publicity …’ (Barthes, ‘Myth To-day’, 2000:110) </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  7. 7. Denotation – Connotation - Myth <ul><li>Denotation </li></ul><ul><li>What is signifier? What is in the picture? </li></ul><ul><li>What does it refer to? </li></ul><ul><li>Connotation </li></ul><ul><li>Broader interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Myth </li></ul><ul><li>What is the ‘wider, cultural message or theme?’ (Hall 1997:40) </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  8. 8. What stories are here? Is there a myth? Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  9. 9. Does it differ here? Or is it part of the same one? Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  10. 10. Another kind of toy story Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  11. 11. What myths does this image key into? Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  12. 12. <ul><li>Myth as a type of speech , communication, that has been ‘chosen by history’ </li></ul><ul><li>Barthes,110 </li></ul><ul><li>Likewise, societies choose what becomes history – we choose our myths </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  13. 13. Myths are often Open Secrets <ul><li>Eg. “wine” and “milk” </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  14. 14. In terms of Foucault’s sense of ‘discourse’ and power: <ul><li>Secrecy can serve to hide the mechanisms of the ways in which a particular discourse makes it easy to manipulate power. </li></ul><ul><li>Secrecy can also create ‘cracks’ in power systems where people can exercise some freedom in and gain some protection from the power wielded within a particular discourse. </li></ul><ul><li>Secrecy happens because it is to someone’s advantage if a story remains hidden. </li></ul><ul><li>Secrecy often has to do with shame or taboo. </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  15. 15. Other Myths? <ul><li>ANZAC </li></ul><ul><li>Princess Mary – Crown Princess of Denmark </li></ul><ul><li>New Media </li></ul><ul><li>Commonsense </li></ul>Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes
  16. 16. Angels How many myths, or is it just a really big one embracing many beliefs and practices? Slide credit: Catherine Summerhayes

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