MDSA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Connotation, Denotation, Roland Barthes

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8 Aug 2016
Chapter 5:
*Scholars who have theorized the sign*
*Ferdinand de Saussure - generally regarded as “the founder of modern linguistics,”9 a title he
earned by shifting the study of language away from the historical roots (philology) and changing
meaning of specific words (semantics) to the study of language as a structured system
*Charles Sanders Peirce - Harvard-trained American philosopher by the name of Charles
Sanders Peirce was developing his own theory. Peirce called his program semiotic
*Roland Barthes – he came up with the signifying system and began to view myth through the
lens of signification, and in particular through Saussure’s conception of signs as signifier and
Semiology - a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life.…It [semiology]
would investigate the nature of signs and the laws governing them
Semiotic - the quasi-necessary, or formal, doctrine of signs
Sign – signifier & signified - something that invites someone to think of something other than
itself. Signifier - sound-image, refers to the material form of a sign as perceived by the senses.
Signified - the idea evoked by the signifier and
Aesthetic - refers to those qualities of an artwork that, while asignifying, generate sensual
experiences and evoke affective responses from audiences
Affect - describes an intensity registered directly by the body and, therefore, operates on a non-
representational or a signifying register
Structuralism - is the idea, largely popularized by the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, that
each element in a cultural system derives its meaning in relation to other elements in that system
moreover, it tends to regard such systems (language, food, fashion, kinship, etc.) as relatively
closed and independent
Signifying system - to distinguish it from semiology and semiotics, draws heavily upon the work
of both Saussure and Peirce. The signifying system grew out of Barthes’s fascination with how
“cultural” practices and beliefs are “naturalized”
Denotation - describes first-order signification or what Barthes called the first “plane of
Connotation - second-order signification and operates at the level of ideology and myth
*Texts and rhetorical structures – 4 rhetorical structures *
*Clusters - the way individual signs are associated with and dissociated from one another
*Form - is the creation and satisfaction of desire
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