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Woodsworth College Courses
William Watson

Chapter 1 – Introduction -why do politicians, the media and the public appear to be blind to researchers’ facts? Sensationalism -with enlightenment, it was hoped that policies would be decided on a rational basis rather than being based on tradition, emotion or prejudice; here we see the beginning of intellectuals’ longstanding contempt for sensation -enlightenment of having people see for themselves how truths are generated i.e. causing chemical reactions vs. just studying them in a book -importance of method – the rules governing the production and the verification of scientifically reliable knowledge -p.5 ‘generally create the impression that the article was not written by a living breathing human with feelings and an imagination, but rather by some kind of impersonal collective machine that churns out facts and communicates them with as few adjectives as possible’ -downgrading of anything emotion is integral to science’s image Chapter 2 – Social Semiotics Semiotics – the scientific study of signs and their meanings Signs – units of meaning; semiotic systems are composed of signs Semiotic System – self-sufficient system of meaning, like the English language -multiple semiotic systems can be used to convey the same message i.e. bathroom sign, ladies or image, sometimes used twice at once -semiotic systems are not independent from one another, not self-contained, not mutually exclusive -boundaries of semiotic systems are rarely fixed Saussure -the meaning of signs is constituted through the relations that signs have with one another -meaning is not inherent in words or other signs, but is created in the process through which signs differentiate themselves from one another -words do not have intrinsic meanings Metonymy (Displacement) and Metaphor Metonymy - associating signs with other signs i.e. if a particular sign that is not logically connected to a product is placed beside it repeatedly, the audience will experience a displacement i.e. Nike swoosh, Crown with government -a horizontal connection between signs that are not logically related Metaphor – vertical relationship between a sign that one can plainly see and another that is not actually visible i.e. the wine-dark sea Signifier and Signified -a sign is composed of these two elements -‘cat’ is the signifier while the animal we are referring to is the signified Myth -not a lie or a misrepresentation, mythical meanings get communicated through certain representations whose meanings are not within the control of the person doing a particular action i.e. sending a picture of a new baby, background myth of the power of the nuclear family -the myth is told repeatedly, often in different contexts i.e. star crossed lovers, the fallen woman -history is excluded from the mythical Ways of Analyzing Signs Content – signs have content i.e. what was in the morning’s newspaper? -who, what, why etc. -a story in a tabloid versus one in a respected newspaper will have
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