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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 3000A/B

Qualitative Researhc MethodsCan be approached from either an interpretive or critical realist standpointFor interpretive approachis there a real to interpretTwo Major Approaches for Qualitative ResearchTextual AnalysesSemioticsthe science of signs study of signs Interpretation of signsFerdinand de Saussure Charles Sanders Peirce Roland BarthesParadox of the Sign The sign is not the thing But the sign is a thingThe Treachery of Images Magritte Ceci nest pas une pipeThe Human Condition Magritte easelwindowCommon Errors Due To SignsReification the fallacy of misplaced concreteness sign mistaken for the thing ie Photos sound bytes video clips particularly of politiciansForgetting that the sign is also a thing dematerialising information BaudrillardSaussures mistake Denial of referentiality of signs selfreferentiality of language selfreferentiality of signs internal linguisticsC S Peircethe road not takenphilosopher not linguistto him a sign is something that stands to somebody for some thinga thing that stands for a thinghence words like and or but are not signs but merely components of languagehis sign was tied to the referent external reality but he did not dematerialise the sign3 types of signs depending on signs relation to external realityiconic resemblingindexical causationsymbol conventionSigniconic indexical symbolicObject referentInterpretanttriangleReality materiality enters Peirces semiologyrelation of sign to object iconic indexical symbolicexperience of subject with objectsign exists materially outside the mindFerdinand de SaussureSwiss linguist signs words spoken writtenfather of structuralismCourse in General Linguistics published 1916scientific study of language goal is to reduce study of language to essential formal relations among elements3 pointsdoes away with materiality of the signsigns have two parts signifiersound visual form signifiedmental imagedoes away with external realitywith peoples experience with objectswith the referentiality of signsdoes away with timeDistinguishes externalinternal linguisticsexternal trying to explain language by material factors that have to do with language for example class structure words for mining in mining townsinternal language as structure in and of itself that can be analyzedMy system presupposes the exclusion of everything that is outside the system of signsDistinguishes diachronicsynchronic linguisticsdiachronic time history etymologysynchronic present systemTwo parts of sign signifiersignified are conventional or unmotivated arbitraryFor semiologists following de Saussurewe do not experience reality firsthandwe experience signifiers which conjure up mental pictureswhich may or may not bear resemblance to external realityParadigms a set of related signs from which one is selectedperceivedall members of paradigm have something in commoneach is distinct both signifier and signifiedmeaning you choose signified depends on meanings not chosenParadigmatic relations differences among elements at one level substitutable but carry a different valuethe yam paradigm in Trobiander words for all sorts of yamsexternal linguistics can also involve diachronic linguisticsThe meaning we seechoose depends on meanings we did not chooseMeaning is a product of language convention not intrinsiccultures share conventionsmeaningsMeanings defined by relations of one sign to another more than by signs relation to external realityConsequences of these assumptionsselfreferentiality of languagesignsno external referentiality we live in languageno test for validity of knowledgeradical freedom to interpretOppositional to Saussure Raymond Williams Culture and Society Keywordslanguage changes over time etcPositioning locating a product by distinguishing it from and relating it to toher things within the same set of relations paradigmphysical spacesocial spacecultural spaceSyntagmstwo signs in proximity modify each otherCodesset of signs with prearranged meanings
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