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Chapter 05.pdf

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Media Studies
Michael Petit

Media Studies Chapter 5 RhetoricalAnalysis Rhetoric – use of symbols to influenc what (and how) audiences think + feel – ability to see the available means of persuasion Theories of Sign Sign – image – invites someone to think of something other than itself Ferdinand de Saussure – Semiology: science which studies the role of signs as part of social life – investigates the nature of signs and the laws governing them – All linguistic signs contain: – 1. signifier: sound-image (material form of a sign as perceived by the senses) – i.e. The word “dog” heard by the listener – 2. signified: mental concept (idea evoked by the signifier) – i.e. The “idea of dogness” – note: actual dog not part of equation – All linguistic signs have two defining traits – 1. arbitrary – not universally fixed – 2. linearity – Difference: do not have to be universal, just socially agreed upon – 1. Signs is difference – signs can signify because of their distinctiveness form other signs – i.e. “dog” can signify because it sounds different than “cat” / “horse” / “mouse” – 2. relations of difference – i.e. “red” is not meaningful because it differs from “dog” – i.e. “red” is meaningful because it differs from “blue” / ”yellow” / “green” Charles Sanders Pierce – Semiotic: quasi-necessary, formal, doctrine of signs – Triadic Relation of Signs – 1. Sign: something which stands for something (image or picture of the dog) – 2. Object: something that the sign stands for (real dog) – 3. Interpretant: mental interpretation of something (mental interpretation of the dog) – Categories of signs: – 1. Iconic Signs: similarity or likeness (icons are are representations that resemble the objects they stand for) – i.e. Diagrams, maps, photographs – 2. Indexical Signs (Indices): linked by cause / association to the objects they represent – i.e. Smoke indicates fire / knock on the door indicates someones arrival – 3. Symbols: linked to their corresponding objects by social convention / agreement (learned rather than intuited) – i.e. Words, books, sentences Ronald Barthes – Signifying System: how cultural practices + beliefs are “naturalized” (made to appear natural) – Denotation / “plane of expression:” first-order signification – literal / explicit meaning of word – i.e. Lion = mental image of large cat – Connotation: second-order signification – associations of a word – varies across cultures – i.e. Lion = courage + pride (food, pet, pest) – relationship between signifier and signified = unmotivated Texts and Rhetorical Structures Texts – set of signs related to each other – their meanings all contribute to the same set of effects Clusters – association of signs: “what goes with what” – way that individual signs are associated + disassociated from one another – acts / images / personalities / situations + similar notions (heroism / villainy / despair) – i.e. Candie's FragrenceAdvertisements: sign (fragrance) + notions (sex / popularity/etc) – make the product more desirable by associating it with a series of positive signifiers Form – creates anticipation + gratification by the sequence – creation + satisfaction of desire – i.e. Gun drawn by a character in a film: fosters desire for violence – must occur eventually – desire goes unfulfilled = Bad Form – Varieties of Form: – 1. Progressive Form: way a story advances step by step (each logically following the last) – i.e. CSI: homicide – search for killer – clues gathered – clues analyzed – suspects found – culprit revealed – 2. Repetitive Form: restatement of the same thing in different ways – i.e.Actors: repeat same characteristics / behaviours – 3. Conventional Form: appea
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