WDW101Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-4: Metonymy, Semiotics, Rational Basis Review

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Published on 8 Feb 2013
Chapter 1 Introduction
-why do politicians, the media and the public appear to be blind to researchers’ facts?
-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
-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
-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 its content represented differently
Format representation including location, tone, language, illustration, typography
-format varies with the medium but also within each medium
Context sometimes described within the representation to the extent that it becomes content
Chapter 3 Representations and their Social Effects
-the social meaning of representations is constituted at three levels: content, format and context
Content Analysis
-content is not reducible to information
-the angle of a story i.e. its focus, perspective story is told from i.e. culture-specific, from inside/outside
-how certain people/events are described
-focus more on the effects of the representations rather than the goals of the journalists/media
-invention of mugging example
Format Analysis
-content what a representation tells us
-format how the representation is structured and presented
-things that allow x to distinguish from other x in the same genre
-think about analysis of the law and order title screen
Analysis of the Format of a Representation has four levels:
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