Week 10 Lecture Guide 2010 UPDATE.docx

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12 Apr 2012
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Week 10 - Representation 2
POLYSEMY (FISKE, 1989)
Polysemic (polysemy)
How polysemy might be different from hegemonic
Ownership in media companies
Fiske doesn‟t believe political economy can tell us about how people interpret
things
We all have power
Less emphasis on structure
Paul: has more emphasis on structure and agency
Flaw: to think that none of those things that don‟t have an impact
Fiske believes we all have power, so those structures shouldn‟t limit our ability to
think
They don‟t matter because media messages are open to multiple readings
Polysemic: interpretations are limitless and open, and are unpredictable
Paul: there are only three ways that we can decode
FISKE AND AUDIENCE POWER
Audience is all powerful
It doesn‟t matter if someone else‟s interpretation is of the dominant ideology
We have total power when it comes to interpretation (individual)
Media doesn‟t program our thoughts, we create our own interpretation
Television messages (and other texts) create open and contradictory interpretations
Not all television messages are powerful
Fiske believes television is an open-text
Open-text: there‟s no guarantee how people will interpret, not given choice,
multiple, polysemimc, being contradictory
Close-text: given choice
Struggle for power creates polysemy
Contradictory because polysemy creates a struggle over power, more or less tells
us what polysemy is
Multiple because there isn‟t just one way to interpret and understand.
Fiske believes there‟s a struggle over meaning
Whose voice is heard
SEMIOTIC EXCESS
Semiotics
Roland Barthes (1973) Mythology and Ferdinand de Saussure
The study of signs
The analysis of messages that are visual, verbal, and non-verbal
Part of interpretation process
Not fixed
Constantly re-interpreting our opinion
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