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Semiotics

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A basic introduction to Semiotics and reading media texts.

A basic introduction to Semiotics and reading media texts.

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Semiotics Semiotics Presentation Transcript

  • A2 Media Studies 3rd October 2011
    Learning Outcomes
    Understand how semiotic theory can be applied to Representation –
    examine
    Iconography
    Connotation & denotation
    iconic and indexical signifiers
    Paradigmatic and syntagmatic relationships
    Iconic, indexical & symbolic signifiers
    Connotation & denotation
    KEY TERMS FOR THIS LESSON
  • DENOTATION & CONNOTATION
    Roland Barthes – semiology- the study of signs and their relationship to meaning
    Ferdinand Saussure – lingusitic structuralism
    Rose
    Is just a word
    The reader shapes or decodes the meaning
    Rose denotes a red sweet-smelling flower
    Rose CONNOTES (has connotations of) love, passion & romance
  • PARADIGMATIC & SYNTAGMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN SIGNIFIERS
    Vertical or horizontal relations between words/ objects to create meaning
    syntagmatic
    Pa
    rAd
    I
    gma
    t
    I
    c
    IN THE PARADIGM MODEL we can DEFINE SOMETHING BY WHAT IT IS NOT –i.e. dog is NOT A LION, TIGER, WOMAN ETC
    This is called absence theory
    The dog bites the man
    Lion
    Tiger
    Woman
    MEDIA MEANING IS CAREFULLY AND DELIBERATELY CONSTRUCTED
  • PARADIGMATIC & SYNTAGMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN SIGNIFIERS
    Vertical or horizontal relations between words/ objects to create meaning
    syntagmatic
    combination
    Pa
    r
    ad
    I
    gma
    t
    I
    c
    In a syntagmatic relationship, the meaning of words & objects is shaped by their linear/ horizontal relationship with other words/objects around them. In visual media, this links to composition, iconography, genre and mise en scene.
    In their paradigmatic relationship, the meaning of words & objects is shaped by the category they belong to and other signifiers that could take their place.
    In visual media, there are links to iconography and genre.
    substitution
  • How do paradigmatic and syntagmatic associations work here?
    Discuss denotation and connotation – what are the signifiers and signified?
    Find other examples in advertising and other media texts.
    If you’re struggling with this concept, think about what you would normally associate
    with the hook. What is the effect of substituting the head?
    This substitution or intrusion of another generic category is a ‘shock’ or subversive
    paradigmatic signifier
  • The process of creating meaning involves a complex interplay of encoding and decoding between producer and audience
    The surface meaning and the ‘deep’ meaning is often hard to comprehend.
    Media images play with these ideas of meaning as being a two-way process.
    Unlike art – which often revels in ambiguity and numerous meanings (polysemy), media images are often manipulated to project a specific meaning (dominant reading)
    Anchorage pins down meaning
    Renee Magritte
  • Propaganda
  • Sometimes anchorage – the use of captions for example – can be subversive. It pins down meaning in a humorous, satirical way.
    Private Eye deliberately uses oppositional readings to subvert meaning (turn it on its head).
    This is for satirical purposes – to make fun of politicians and those in power.
    It’s a form of anti-propaganda
  • Indexical Iconic Symbolic Representation
    Iconic representation - here the car is an image which directly resembles the real thing
    Indexical representation – the image suggests the presence of a car
    Symbolic – a sign that bears no obvious relation to the thing that is signified
  • Symbol/symbolic: a mode in which the signifier does not resemble the signified but which is fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional - so that the relationship must be learnt: e.g. language in general (plus specific languages, alphabetical letters, punctuation marks, words, phrases and sentences), numbers, morse code, traffic lights, national flags
    Icon/iconic: a mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (recognizably looking, sounding, feeling, tasting or smelling like it) - being similar in possessing some of its qualities: e.g. a portrait, a cartoon, a scale-model, onomatopoeia, metaphors, 'realistic' sounds in 'programme music', sound effects in radio drama, a dubbed film soundtrack, imitative gestures
    Index/indexical: a mode in which the signifier is not arbitrary but is directly connected in some way (physically or causally) to the signified - this link can be observed or inferred: e.g. 'natural signs' (smoke, thunder, footprints, echoes, non-synthetic odours and flavours), medical symptoms (pain, a rash, pulse-rate), measuring instruments (weathercock, thermometer, clock, spirit-level), 'signals' (a knock on a door, a phone ringing), pointers (a pointing 'index' finger, a directional signpost), recordings (a photograph, a film, video or television shot, an audio-recorded voice), personal 'trademarks' (handwriting, catchphrase) and indexical words ('that', 'this', 'here', 'there').
  • Photo by
    Helmut Newton
  • Symbolic codes work together in strange ways in this advert.
    None of the signifiers have any relation to ‘reality’ as we know it
  • The following slide contains a range of iconic and symbolic signifiers.
    The anchorage is totally oppositional and subversive but highly entertaining
  • How do paradigmatic and syntagmatic associations work in this advert?
    Discuss denotation and connotation – what are the signifiers and signified?
    What are the indexical, symbolic and iconic signs here?
  • There’s more here:
    http://www.slideshare.net/shawncalvert/intro-to-graphic-design-week-3-sign-symbol-logo-presentation
    http://www.slideshare.net/stephen.cox/semiotics-in-10-minutes
  • Now - Explain it all again
    Or better still- find a poster, magazine cover or print advert and do a semiotic radial analysis
    Powerpoint/ Slideshares welcome