CCT210 Notes.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Communication, Culture and Technology
Elizabeth Peden

CCT210 TEST I Neomania  Pop culture is engrained in everything, thus according to Barthes, it’s generated this phenomena of “neomania”  Constant craving for new objects of consumption and new forms of entertainment instilled into the modern psyche by media images, messages and spectacles of all kind  Recurring media images that we see, messages that we receive, spectacles that are regularly shown to us  Creates a constant longing for something new  Eg) Madonna reinvents herself thus stays relevant  Barthes claims that advertising is identifiable as the root cause of neomania  Through adaptive change, advertisers are constantly trying to ensure that any shifts in social entertainment trends are reflected in their advertisements as well Reification  Narrative in radio also had genres of mythical proportion  Ex) radio sports broadcasts such as boxing matches were portrayed by announcers as epic battles pitting good against evil  Preparing for the big match had a ritualistic quality similar to the circumstance that the mythic armies engaged in before going out to battle, as announcers interviewed the boxers, recounted their life stories dramatically and drew moral lessons from their lives  To the listener, the distinction between mythical and the real became a blurry one  Eg) reifying power of radio was a 1938 broadcast by Orson Welles o His radio version of War of the Worlds was so realistic that thousands believed an alien attack was actually occurring Mediagenic moments  Archive video footage in news: creating a likeness and index of the phenomenal world  Viewers have been trained to see the world in news through established news frames. They encounter these frames visually through memorable ‘mediagenic’ moments rather than complex socio-political processes. And they are trained to receive these in terms of the reality of news.  Having qualities/characteristics that are especially appealing or attractive when presented in the mass media  Eg) footage obtained at low cost by film archive, pixelated, cropped images, stock images being reused,  We as viewers believe it, we think the images are being detonated to us, but rather these images connote meaning for us  The world in these images comes to represent the world as we see it in a limited bank  We receive it as reality, we don’t question the news, we’re comfortable with it  What we see is always more powerful than what we hear, we think the news is an index of what’s really happening  Eg) Middle East, Iraq, women on the streets, protesting, people screaming and yelling on the streets  We’d think we’re seeing the same thing every day Archetype  Carl Jung saw myth as an unconscious form of language giving expression to universal ideas called archetypes  These ideas constitute the collective unconscious of humanity and continue to manifest themselves in modern-day symbols and fictional characters  Eg) Trickster is found in stories we tell children in character roles such as jokers, comedians, etc  We relate intuitively to this archetype without requiring any explanation of what a trickster is because it is buried deeply in our collective unconscious  We rely on archetypes  Eg) Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf 1 CCT210 TEST I  Established from ancient mythological stories  Affects our language, speech, and thinking of how things should be and how people should behave  We all know it as a society and it is constantly being recycled by the media today  Value in using archetypal characters in fiction is that a large group of people are able to unconsciously recognize the archetype, reaching a lot of people and our subconscious. It did not have to be explained  We see it in film, music, video games, advertising Juvenilization  Pop culture, according to Barthes, has generated this phenomena of “juvenilization”  Tendency of people to think of themselves as forever young and attractive physically and socially  Like the actors, TV personalities we see everyday on TV, in ads and movies  Did not come about exclusively because of media , advances in medicine and in health-care delivery and a diffusion of affluence (abundance of wealth) in society at large, were primary factors in its emergence, given that they raised the average life expectancy considerably  Since it became possible to live longer, it also became possible to think of oneself as being young for a longer period of time  Accurate to say that the media have spread and ensconced juvenilization into the social mindset through movies, TV shows and advertisements that constantly privilege youth  Healthcare became more improved, people didn’t worry about the most basic things, given us more time to try to spend on improving ourselves in other ways Nareemes  Ordinary discourse was itself built upon narrative structure. There exists a relatively small number of narrative units or plot themes which go into the makeup of a plot grammar that allows readers to immediately recognize the genre being read  The term used to refer to these units is narremes  Parts within a narrative that break things down for us so we better understand them  They occur in a recurring pattern, in our narrative stories that we all tell  Eg) fairy tales are recognizable as such because they have the following recurring characteristics o They take place in an indeterminate time frame, hence they typically start with once upon a time o Imaginary creatures and beings intermingle in the plots o The good fight in a battle with the evil doers o The setting involves both the real world and a supernatural one o A hero is tested and must overcome some challenge through trial and persecution o Having overcome the test, the story ends happily ever after Intertextuality  A direct/indirect reference to another within a narrative, can allude to something else  This imparts upon it a sense of interconnectedness to the larger signifying order within which it is conceived  Although Saussure stressed the importance of the relationship of signs to each other, one of the weaknesses of structuralist semiotics is the tendency to treat individual texts as discrete, closed-off entities and to focus exclusively on internal structures  Eg) The New Testament refers to The Old Testament Short Answer 1. Saussure  uses a two part model:  He defined a sign as being composed of:  a 'signifier' - the form which the sign takes; and  the 'signified' - the concept it represents. 2 CCT210 TEST I  The sign is the whole that results from the association of the signifier with the signified Example  “Open”  Signifier: the word “open”  Signified” the concept that the shop is “open” for business  Remember that you as the shopper/the person reading the sign have invested it with meaning Value of the Sign  Saussure refers to as the 'value' of a sign depends on its relations with other signs within the system  In other words, Saussure believes that a sign has no 'absolute' value independent of this context.  Chess game analogy.  What is signified then clearly depends on the relationship between the two parts of the sign, the value of a sign is determined by the relationships between the sign and other signs within the system as a whole. ‘Arbitrariness” of the Sign  Saussure argues that there is no necessary, intrinsic, direct or inevitable relationship between the signifier and the signified.  Agreed to be convention  e. g. TREE  What about TREE vs. FREE  This does not suggest that all signifying systems are socially or historically arbitrary  e.g. Language  e.g. Red for traffic light  After the sign has come into historical existence it cannot be arbitrarily changed  Once something comes into existence and is established its really hard to change such as the Alphabet, unlike fashion and music which you can change Peirce  Has a three part model:  The Representamen: the form which the sign takes (not necessarily material) = to Saussure’s signifier;  An Interpretant: not an interpreter but rather the sense made of the sign = to Saussure’s signified;  An Object: to which the sign refers (not in Saussure’s model). Peirce Example  A Traffic Light sign for “Stop”  The red light facing traffic is the “Representamen”  The idea that a red light indicated that vehicles must stop is the “Interpretant”  The vehicles actually stopping are the “Object” (the object as represented in the representamen). *Remember: The object does not have to be real or physical. Fundamental Division of Peirce’s Signs  Symbol/symbolic: a mode in which the signifier does not resemble the signified but which is fundamentally arbitrary or purely conventional - so that the relationship must be learnt: e.g. language, alphabetical letters, numbers, morse code, traffic lights, national flags;  Icon/iconic: a mode in which the signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified (recognizably looking, sounding, feeling, tasting or smellin
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