Week 4 Notes GCST
The way things are presented is a matter of power.
Why things are represented the way there are. Whose served by the representation?
Use semiotic terminology to examine a music video with regard to social identities.
Semiotics - The world can be understood by understanding the meanings.
Culturally specific meanings are connotations.
The same black suits makes has a different connotation deepening on the context. Church
Funeral / Ballroom
The devil wears Prada - it's not just blue scene.
Signs derive their meaning from other signs.
Example texts from different Genre's Western and Rap.
1. Semiotics and Representation Recap
Signs are any unit of meaning.
Signifier (the thing - image, object, word)
and the Signified (the concept - my understanding of it)
Sign use of shaped by cultural codes and expectations.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet - unless you called it a stink blossom.
Signifiers are divided into 2 types:
1. Denotation: Most obvious dictionary meaning
2. Connotation: Associations that members of a cultural community recognize as related to the
Connotations are highly variable. The meanings we attach are not fixed. They change over
time and are not fixed - but they need to be created via sharing within or between communities.
1. Paradigm the principle of selection: a set of options;
A set of signs that are used by the author to help consider the effect of choosing a particular
As in: if you threw 1950's Australia party theme people would think/talk about idea's of
femininity/masculinity, power, sport, Australian culture. But potentially ignore racism, disenfranchisement of native Australians etc.
There are certain things that are associated with 1950's but other things are not. Some ideas
are dominant ideas, a paradigm about what 1950's Australia was.
A paradigm is a set from which a lexical choice is made. A syntagm is the principle of
combining these signs together.
2. Syntagm the principle of combination: The meaning of a particular signed is conditioned by it
appearance alongside others.
High heels may have implicit meanings on themselves - but as part of an outfit - it becomes
part of a syntagm. Advertising uses syntagms - using particular signs working all together to
advertise a product.
3. Codes the principle that selections and combination are shaped by social conventions of
context: not fixed laws and they can be broken. Nonetheless reproduction of cues optimises
social relevance of a text by mobilising 'appropriate' sets of meanings.
2. Barthes on Soap Detergents
Chlorinated product = liquid fire. Kill the dirt.
Soaps and detergent = Separates dirt from object. Liberates objects.
Linen = deep. Deep
Foam = luxury.
Barthes "Abrasive detergent, then OMO described
Examples: OMO advertising. Shining, bright. Obvious cultural connotations.
What the central message of the ad is.
What a key signs that work together to make the message obvious.
What denotations and connotations it has.
How culturally specific are the ads?
Roland Barthes (1915 -1980)
French Literary and cultural critic, theorist and semiotician and journalist.
Worked a journalist. Wrote Mythologies, a collection of semiotics on everyday.
Wrote, Lover's Discourse, The Fashion System. Writing Degree Zero. Camera Lucida.
Pasta Ad Analysis
Panzani pasta stuff is natural, yummy and Italian.
signifiers = rustic bag.
signified Connotation = Natural, markets, fresh. healthy
Signifier = Red colour
Signified connotation = Warm, homely, inviting.
Tomato + Pasta = Italian. Also, colours of the Italian flag.
Panzani products are Italian and friendly and fresh "just from the market" Natural and homely =
great for the family.
It it would not necessarily work cross culturally because it only
of the bag, it might be rustic italiana to me, but to others it could look cheap.
Metonyms = associating colours and foods of Italy to represent italianness.
3. Metaphor, metonymy, myth
Hair adds. Metaphor makes hair look like muscles. Makes it strong like muscles are. "Priorin is
strength for your hair."
Beer in shape of mountain = Mountains are cold and refreshing. Ski culture. Heineken = is
therefore cold and refreshing.
Corona = tropical island -
Hahn = Pioneering Beering = low carb beer. Beer with piping industrial imagery around it.
VB = Being real. Australian masculinity = VB has saved him from narcissism.
Plays on similarity and difference. Use obvious things to help understand stuff.
Allegory = extended metaphor.
Is part of the larger whole, a larger category or in semiotic terms when a member o