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COMS 371 - Semiotics.docx

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University of Calgary
Communications Studies
COMS 371
Delia Dumitrica

COMS 371 – October 22, 2013 Feedback on the Media Analysis Journal - Closer attention to the original text (develop summary). o What is the overall argument proposed by the author?  Are you capturing the thrust of the argument?  Are you contextualizing the argument? o What are the main concepts and how do they fit within the overall argument?  Are you focussing on the relevant ideas or on tangential details? o What aspects of the argument will I use in my analysis and why? - The case: o Is the case appropriate? o Narrow down the case (e.g., not Facebook, but a specific group on Facebook, something you can actually take a look at and discuss in detail). o How am I analyzing it? How am I using the theory to discuss the case? - Writing: o Unclear writing – what is the point you are trying to make? o Separation between your opinion (or generalizations, ‘facts’) and summary of theory o Logic (ideas do not relate, sentences do not connect, unclear how one thing leads to another). o Improper citations & references. If you’re ever unsure about the case you want to use, run it by Delia! She won’t read your draft, but she’ll give great feedback on the ideas you have. Groups for Culture Jamming - Alter a media text from a critical studies perspective - Presentations/display in class on December 3 - 4 People per group – each member is responsible for 1 relevant source - Group formation sheet – write down your name under one of the two columns Semiotics: Main Concepts - Tools for analysis provided by semiotics o Signs = signifier (form: sound, image) + signified (idea, concept) o Sign – 2 levels of meaning  Denotation = basic, descriptive level  Connotation = wider meaning, interpretation, relying on cultural codes, ideologies o Myth: ideology. Something that hides away the ‘true’ reality/meaning  “method of analyzing rhetorical strategies of media culture, taking apart the mythologies that colonize social life and helping produce a critical consciousness on behalf of the reader” (Durham and Kellner 2006, p. 92).  “reveals the masked ideological components in a produced collection of signs” (McIlwan 2007, p. 173). Techniques of Myth (Barthes) Myth: - - Denotation – soldier saluting the (French) flag - Connotation – “What is Paris Match telling us by using this picture of a black soldier saluting a French flag? … that France is a great Empire, and that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism that the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors” (Hall 1997, p. 39) - This picture proposes that France is an inclusive society, your skin color doesn’t matter Techniques of Myth - Demonstration by acknowledging disadvantages, then restating the worth of the product, institution, etc. o Operation Margarine - Inoculation: o Admit accidental evil, but preserve ‘goodness’ as a whole - Example: Rambo – traumatized war veteran trying to reintegrate, goes from
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