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Lecture 9

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Communication Studies
Baxter Moore

COMM2P20 Lecture9 November7,2012 StructureofAssignment3 - Select a 30-second commercial (must be from 2012) - conduct a semiotic analysis and apply at least one theoretical perspecitive used in the course - Six main elements - Introduction to the method (semiotic analysis) and the text (the commercial) as well as a connection between these two (thesis) - Brief description of denotative content - Analysis of connotative (mythical/ ideological) meaning - Application of theoretical perspective - Possible limitations and reservations - many signs are polysemous (they are possible of multiple interpretations) - Conclusion - why the commercial ‘works’ or doesn’t, to whom does it appeal and how, etc ReadingCommercials In the following commercials, look for: - Signs and codes - Denotative and connotative meanings - Why does the ad work - What or whose mythologies or ideologies do these ads tap into - Which theoretical perspective might best be applied to make sense of the way the ad works 1. Classic Ads - Toyota Rav 4 a. Connotes that cars and commodities are more important than people - Marxist concept that we put more value on commodities than we do on human relationships 2. Red House Furniture a. Selling a place to go to buy furniture b. Says that they are a multicultural company (sell to black and white people) 3. Banned 7-up Ad a. Girl looking very thirsty, guy brings her a 7-up, song playing in the background is little red riding hood b. Could be linked to psychoanalysis - basic desires met (thirst) Race,RepresentationandPost-Colonialism RaceandRacism - Race is a concept lacking in biological foundations: it is pure social construct - There is nothing more significant than the colour of your skin than the colour of your eyes or hair - In other words, “race” is a cultural and historical category, a way of making difference signify between people of a variety of skin tones. (Storey p167) - Storey summarizes evolution of racist thought in Britain (it is racism that keeps the concept [of race] alive (p 168) RepresentationofEthnicityand‘Otherness’ - Hence, the social construct of race has real consequences - It has enormous significance in the development of American popular culture, especially popular music and the music industry, but also in other fields of creation and production (like ‘race records’ which assumed that black people listened to these records) - Race is represented in popular culture texts - in Hollywood movies, tv, cartoons, comic strips, video games, sports and sports entertainment - It is reflected in consumption patterns, segregated by ‘race’, ethnicity, religion, other social categories that cross-cut class, gender/sexuality and region or nation - we also see advertising directed at different ‘racial minorities Wheredidthiscomefrom? - There are particular narratives of relationships among different ethnic groups, skin colours, ‘races’ Stuart Hall - 3 key ‘moments’ in the history of race and racism in the West (western Europe) - Slavery and the slave trade 17th and 18th centuries - Western countries did not settle other parts of the world, they set down military and trading posts in other parts of the world in order to obtain materials— including people—to use them as slaves - Colonialism and imperialism (19th and 20th centuries) - Not content with just taking the raw materials, the European countries raced to impose colonial rule over those other parts of the world (Asia, Latin America, etc) - Decolonization and immigration 1950’s— Timeline for black/white relations in North America is someone different - Slavery and colonialism 1607-1865 - De jure (legal) emancipation, continuing racism 1865-1965 - The slaves were freed, but that did not free African Americans - De facto (in fact) equality? 1965— Whiteness - Whiteness is an identity enjoyed by members of the Caucasian majority in countries such as the US, Canada, or UK - It is associated with power and privilege (but subject to class and gender) - Whiteness is a state of bring non-ethnic —only other people are ethnic or belong to a race - Whiteness is a social construct which associates being white with humanity in general (Storey - white writers are rarely described as ‘white writers’, black writers are invariably described as such) - We can’t talk in a critical way about ethnicity and race, until we come to terms with the idea of whiteness Orientalism - A term used to describe a way of imagining, representing or mythologizing what used to be known as “the East” - A discourse (a way of thinking and expressing) used to try to make sense of the unfamiliar - According to Said, Western literature and art depict the Orient as an irrational weak, feminized ‘other’, contrasted with the rational, strong, masculine West - Orientalism tells us much more about the West than it does about the East - all we see about the East is a lot of stereotypes that aren’t true, we understand much more about the people that construct those stereotypes - The West defines itself in
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