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Lecture 9

COMS 240 Lecture 9: Week 9

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Concordia University
Comm. Studies
COMS 240
Peter Van Wyck

Week IX: Semiotics Roland Barthes – “The Rhetoric of the Image” 3 messages: – linguistic – coded iconic – non-coded iconic • signifiers imply a series of signifieds • denotation: replies to what is it? “The text helps to identify purely and simply the elements of the scene and the scene itself; it is a matter of a denoted descrip1on of the image” (20) • texts are polysemic, but not infinitely • symbolic meanings get anchored which fixes meaning and limits polysemy – texts direct (dispatches), causing you to no1ce some meanings and not others (selective) – anchoring function: less costly; image does the work – relay function: text & image are complementary; relays information beyond the image; costly; has a diegetic value Barthes: rhetoric of the image • signifiers are connotative: – drawn from system of cultural codes, practices (lexia; together form a lexicon: for eg., lexicon of sports, wine-tas1ng, of music, etc) – ideological • rhetoric (set of signifiers) is the signifying aspect of ideology (25) à bait & switch (subs1tute connota1on for denota1on) • the voyeur vs. the walker • conceptual metaphors for his discussion of two implied ideas: strategies and tactics • strategies: the structured dynamics of power that are set out for us to follow. – connected to systems. • tactics: how users nego1ate the strategies that are put into place – tactics are temporary and fleeting but essential – they demonstrate agency – these “operations” produce a migrational, or metaphorical city • Key ideas: • Spatial practices; • Everyday Life (connecting communications to culture) and Lived Space. • Spaces are not only made, they are created by our use prac1ces, our movements in everyday life. De Certeau: cities are a 3-fold opera1on 1. rational systems of organization 2. these try to impose a “no-when” or erase a history of a space and limit the tactics of users, but this is impossible 3. create identities for themselves as ‘subjects’. Barthes and De Certeau • Barthes: the advertising image; question of the image/text relationship in the construction of meaning. • De Certeau: the city as a semiotic system, but also a space of social practices that create the image of a city. Key terms/differences • Barthes: signifier/signified; syntagmatic/ paradigmatic; denotated/connotated; anchorage/relay; linguistic message/iconic image; lexicon/idiolect • Emphasizes the meanings encoded in the image • De Certeau: strategies/tactics; walking as a rhetorical practice; spatial practices; everyday life; styles of use. • Emphasizes the position of the viewer and the meanings we make of the sign systems we inhabit Signifier and Signified For Saussure (1959), the signified was a representation of a concept, while the signifier was used to represent the sound-image of that concept. Barthes (1964) points out that the importance of both the signified and the signifier is the relationship betw
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