Tuesday, 30 November 2010

An introduction to semiotics

What is semiotics? 
The science of studying signs.  Something that gives meaning in society eg colours, noises, symbols

Studying of how things arrive at their meaning.  Since 50/60's also applied to culture.
Ferdinand de Saussure (Swiss linguist)

So in the same way we can unravel meaning in language by understanding the written and spoken material we can also unravel meaning in cultural practices if we take culture as operating like a language.

A code is a system of symbols or signs 
"Reading cultural codes' Fashion is a cultural codes.

We discussed sterotypes such as a business man in a suit which society thinks of as  smart. conforming, business like. Compared to a rebel, rock n roll subverting.  The images can be read like text.  

These are the seminar notes:


  • The meaning of signs shift
  • Meanings don't come from objects themeselves but from people
  • By analysing the connotational content of cultutral artefacts we can access ideological meaning which can help us understand how culture operates.

In class we carried out a task using a tabloid paper for that day.  In our groups we picked out an article for which we had to identify the signifiers which denote and connote. 
  • Pointers- Think about the ways photographs denote or connote - how they are cropped
  • Particular words
  • Naturalised myths - Photographs can be thought of as mythical can be denotive but often connovative
  • Text is loaded with menaing depensing on how you read the article

The main text we paicked out from the article were:

'Ireland is a friend in need'
Irish crisis
Head line Go to bail connotes negative connotation of 'Go to jail
Green imagery denotes Ireland
Tiger denotes Celtic symbol - How the tough invincible Irish was tamed into a kitten
the language used is designed to connote everyday bloke
The imagery adds connotations of arrest
the tiger to kitten imagery also connotes Ireland going down the drain

The ideology behind the article is mocking 

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