Thursday, 10 January 2013

Lecture Ten - Communication Theory.

  • introduce key themes and concepts in semiotics
  • explore key theories and theorists in the field of structural linguistics
  • explore uses of semiotics in the analysis of art and design

Defining Semiotics
  • Saussure defined semiology - a study of 'sign systems'
  • introduced image based signs
  • signifier/signified/referent, immediate structure of the sign system
  • signifier - image, word, colour
  • signified - mental concept of the word, what you see in your head, element of thinking
  • referent - actual thing itself
  • he separated the word sign from meaning, that meaning is not inherent within the sign
  • he separated the act of speech from the system of language
  • semiotics is a form of meta-language - a language about language
  • systems and structures (the context of the sign) dictate the reading
  • what dictates what we see as the signified

what do colours signify?
  • green - grass, go
  • blue - water, cold
    • shown with a crisp
  • green - cheese and onion
  • blue - salt and vinegar
    • walkers is reverse
  • shows that there is an agreement within the system of communication
  • meaning is established in differentiation
  • rather than establish what it is we establish what it is not

Connotation and Denotation
  • provides us with levels or orders of signification
  • Roland Barthes warns that denotation isn't a literal meaning but is naturalised through language
  • most evident where signifiers merely refer to other signifiers

  • myths are signs that are culturally informed
  • myths often appear to go without saying yet function to hide dominant cultural values or beliefs
  • wine - intelligent, sophisticated
  • milk - strong

Syntam and Paradigm
  • syntagym - a collection of signifiers within a text (sentence)
  • syntagmatic relations - how signifiers within a syntagym relate to each other
  • paradigm - signifiers that relate through function or relative meaning
  • paradigmatic relation - how paradigmatic signifiers construct and contrast meaning

Metaphor and Metonym
  • both non-literal forms of signification, as such require a level on interpretation
  • metaphor is where one signifier is replaced with another of similar concept or character
  • metonym is where a signifier stands in for another to which is is conceptually or physically a part of (displacement)

  • the act of effective persuasion using language
  • used by politicians, journalists, advertisers, pr
  • subtle, you are unaware that it is working
  • can also be used within photography

  • meta is a prefix used to alter purpose of a practice or system inwards
  • meta-language - language within a language
  • meta-narative - an overarching narrative of other smaller narratives

  • is the term used for the broad application of semiotics/semiology to a range of sign systems
  • further than the application solely to linguistics
  • structuralism emphasises structures or systems of signification
    • not what it means but how it comes to mean
    • semiotic linguistic terms/structures act as analogies for other systems

Post structuralism
  • while structuralism focusses on the structures of meaning in any signifying system
  • possibilities of mis interpretation
  • focuses on the interpreter and the precarious nature of the meaning
  • structuralism reduces everything to related elements within a signifying system
    • this is authoritarian in nature
    • it assumes the presence of meaning, logocentrism
  • post structuralists aim to deconstruct and emphasise the plurality of the interpretation

  • differer - to differ and to defer
  • differance is both differing and defering simultaneously

  • where structuralism identified/created structures of signification
  • deconstruction aims to dismantle the structures - identifying gaps and instabilities
  • emphasising what is lost or cast aside
  • binary oppositions

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