Class 2 - Intro to Semiotics


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Class 2 - Intro to Semiotics

  1. 1. Intro to Semiotics CLASS 2 1/30/2012
  2. 2. Media “Messages” <ul><li>1. AUTHORSHIP: All media messages are constructed </li></ul><ul><li>2. FORMAT: Media messages have their own language and rules </li></ul><ul><li>3. AUDIENCE: People experience the same media messages differently. </li></ul><ul><li>4. CONTENT: Media messages have underlying agendas, values, and world views. </li></ul><ul><li>5. PURPOSE: Messages created by the mass media are constructed to gain profit, and power. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Authorship <ul><li>What kind of text is it? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the various ingredients? </li></ul><ul><li>How is it similar or different from others in the same genre? </li></ul><ul><li>What technologies are used? </li></ul><ul><li>What choices were made to make it differently? </li></ul><ul><li>Who created this message? - how many people did it take, what role did they play? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Format <ul><li>What did you notice about how this message is constructed? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the view point? </li></ul><ul><li>How is the story told visually? </li></ul><ul><li>Symbols/ metaphors? </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional appeal? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it seem real? Why? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Audience <ul><li>Does this reflect your experience? / how closely? </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn from the text? </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn about ourselves? </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn from others response? </li></ul><ul><li>Other interpretations? </li></ul><ul><li>Other viewpoints as valid as your own? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you explain varied responses? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Into to Semiotics: <ul><li>What is Semiotics? </li></ul><ul><li>In short, semiotics is the study of signs. </li></ul><ul><li>The theory was developed by Saussure and Pierce. </li></ul><ul><li>Main idea: “Signs unite concepts and a sound image” (Saussure) </li></ul><ul><li>The relationship between a concept and a sound image can be described as the signifier (sound image) and the signified (concept.) </li></ul>
  7. 7. 3 Aspects of Signs <ul><li>Signs come in 3 different forms: </li></ul><ul><li>Icons: icons are signified by resemblance. They are something we can plainly see. Example: Pictures, statues etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Index: index is signified by a casual connection. They are something that we can figure out through simple analysis. Example: Fire / Smoke. </li></ul><ul><li>Symbol: symbols are signified by convention. They are something that we learn through historical/ cultural events, or social interaction. Example: Flags . </li></ul>
  8. 8. How is meaning generated? <ul><li>Language is a system of signs that express ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>“ In language there are only differences” (Saussure) Meaning that language is made up of oppositions and relationships and nothing has meaning in itself. For example, “rich” means nothing without “poor.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The relationship between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary even though there is not always a logical connection between a word and a concept. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: A sign that says “open” in a shop window = the sound image. The concept is that the store is open for business. </li></ul><ul><li>Symbols are an exception. Because symbols are very seldom interchangeable. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: The symbol of the scale generally means justice, and could not be replaced with something else, like a chariot etc. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Signs stand for things, ideas, and concepts. <ul><li>In material culture, material objects can serve as signs and contain meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: A diamond ring. </li></ul><ul><li>Music can be a sign. Music generates an emotional response, much like how music is used in film and advertisements. </li></ul><ul><li>In advertisements, TV shows, etc people can serve as signs. </li></ul><ul><li>Peoples clothes, hair fashion etc convey notions of what they are like. (Or at least what they want you to think they are like. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Hyper Reality <ul><li>Hyper reality is associated with Mass Production / Mass Media. </li></ul><ul><li>It means that an object or experience is perfered to its original. </li></ul><ul><li>It means “more than real” or “a simulation”(like Disney Land) </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Axe </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Hyper Realities can be dangerous if they become more important or more real to someone than reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: People who are addicted to gaming or pornography. People who develop eating disorders because of an unattainable image of beauty. Etc. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Paradigmatic Analysis: involves a pattern of oppositions burried in it to generate meaning. (image - Daniel Chandler.)
  14. 14. Intertextuality <ul><li>“ Parody” is the purposeful reusing of text. Audience must be familiar with the original text so that they can appreciate the parody. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Quotes and Tributes” - examples: Family Guy, Swingers, The Boondocks. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Dialogical Theory <ul><li>The idea that language is made up of everything that has been said before and everything that is going to be said. </li></ul><ul><li>Basically, “It’s all been done before” Nothing is original. Everything that surrounds us is a replicated, reworked and imitated version of something else. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Pop Art. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Metaphor, Metonymy and Codes: Highly complex patterns of associations learned through social interaction. Codes Substitute naming. Example: The King = The Crown, Uncle Sam = The United States. Red = Passion. Metonymy The relationship between 2 things is hinted at and can be figured out through analogy. Metaphor
  17. 17. Signs in Film, TV and Video Advertisements: Social relationship Full shot Characters or subject in context Long shot Personal relationship Medium shot Intimacy Close up SIGNIFIED: SIGNIFIER:
  18. 18. Signs in Camera Movement: Conclusion Wide Excitement Cut Start or end Fade in / out Focus Dolly in Small / Weak Pan up Power / Authority Pan down SIGNIFIED SIGNIFIER
  19. 19. Codes cont. <ul><li>The transmitters of media messages do not always share the codes of their audiences this leads to a different set of values, belief systems and world views. (See figure on Page 31.) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Recap: <ul><li>Semiotics helps us understand how meaning is created and conveyed in texts and naratives. </li></ul><ul><li>Semiotics helps us understand that signs are the relationship between a signifier and the signified. </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing has meaning in itself. How words are arranged can alter meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Codes in language, and society make signs understandable and shape actions. </li></ul>