SEMIOTICS

WEEK NINE

LEC 18

SEMIOTICS OF ROLAND BARTHES

Book Mythologies - looks for the cultural meaning of nonverbal signs

Semiotics is concerned with anything that can stand for something else. Look at the ideological or connotative meaning to explain the cultural status quo.

Term semiology was coined by a Swiss linguist named Ferdinand de Saussure. Referred to a potential science to investigate the nature of sings., their impact on society and the laws that govern them.

Umberto Eco of Italy....A Theory of Semiotics..defined semiotics as the theory of the lie.

Barthes used the word "Myth" to describe his semiotic theory. Myth according to the NEW WEBSTER DICTIONARY: IN A LOOSER SENSE, AN INVENTED STORY, SOMETHING PURELY FABULOUS OR HAVING NO EXISTENCE IN FACT. THE COLLECTIVE MYTH OR DOCTRINE OF A PEOPLE OR A NATION.

SIGN, SIGNIFIER AND A SIGNIFIED..took from the work of Saussure.

Taxonomy is a kind of structural analysis into the cultural meaning of designer clothes, French cooking, automobiles, Japanese gift giving, household furniture, houses. No matter how chaotic or unjust...all as natural, inevitable and eternal to our collective societies.

1972 - TIE A YELLOW RIBBON ROUND THE OLD OAK TREE

AVOID A POTENTIAL EMBARRASSMENT OF A FACE TO FACE CONFRONTATION

SONG OF FORGIVENESS OF A STIGMA

1991 YELLOW RIBBONS CARRIED A ‘WE WANT YOU BACK’ MESSAGE WHEN U.S. ARMED FORCES FOUGHT IN OPERATION DESERT STORM. BECAME A BLATANT SIGN OF NATIONALISM. WHAT HAD ORIGINALLY SIGNIFIED FORGIVENESS OF A STIGMA NOW SYMBOLIZED NATIONAL PRIDE.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF A NEUTRAL SIGN TO AN IDEOLOGICAL TOOL

SEMIOLOGISTS DECONSTRUCT THE MYTHIC SIGNS THAT REINFORCE THE DOMINANT VALUES OF A CULTURE. The problem with mythic signs is that they go without saying.

BARTHES BEGAN TO QUESTION HIS OWN THINKING ABOUT SIGNS.

PRINCIPLE 1. Every sign has meaning. He abandoned the signified after living one year in Japan.

PRINCIPLE 2. Denotation is not the first meaning, but pretends to be so as an illusion. The closer meaning is the last one of connotation.

DENOTE: IS TO MARK OUT, TO POINT OUT, TO STAND FOR. TO BE THE SIGN OR SYMPTOM OF.

CONNOTE: TO HAVE MEANING. THE ATTRIBUTES EXPRESSED BY A WORD.

CONNOTE AND DENOTE ARE CONTRASTED IN LOGIC.

THE WORD ‘HORSE’ CONNOTES THE QUALITIES THAT DISTINGUISHES A HORSE FROM OTHER ANIMALS. CLASSIFICATION, A TAXONOMY.

DENOTES THE CLASS OF ANIMALS WHICH ARE CHARACTERIZED BY HAVING THESE QUALITIES.

HOW CAN WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN BARTHES’ SEMIOTIC THEORY WHEN HE HIMSELF ABANDONED HIS CREATION?

 

Griffin, E.M. (1996). "A First Look at Communication Theory". 3rd Edition McGraw Hill