Week 5

Week 5 Making Meaning Labelling media content: - Artefact- What is it's physical form - Commodity- What is it's exchange value - Text- What does it communicate Media Texts: - Media content which is creative and meaningful - Interpretation must go beyond description - Superficial readings are commonplace, we do them all the time Making meaning is work: - Media producers encode meaning, both individually and institutionally - Media consumers decode meaning in accordance with learned social norms - Media environments, our exposure to different kinds of media helps train us in how they work - Media messages are constructed, and they reflect the values and beliefs of media content creators. While our decoding of media messages is not always in line with what creators intend, often we don't think very deeply about these messages at all, and this how the ideas they circulate just become part of our unconscious media landscape, where we don't question how or why meaning is made. Meaning behind traffic lights: - Before there were traffic lights for cars, there were traffic signals for trains. The original design used green to signal "caution," while the white signaled "all clear." While the lights worked, in some cases, the results were disastrous. Train conductors couldn't always see the white lights, and the tinted glass that gave the lights their colors could break, causing a red light to appear white. - Eventually, officials decided to get rid of the white light, changing "green" to mean "go." They also added in a yellow light, which indicated "caution." - For centuries, humans have associated red with danger, so the color was an obvious choice for "stop." Besides, red was already used as a traffic signal of sorts; through the 19th century, ships used red flags to declare that they were carrying explosive cargo. Red is the color with the longest wavelength, so it can be seen from a greater distance than other colors. - The color yellow was used to caution drivers because it has a slightly shorter wavelength than red, but not as short as green. Decoding Meaning: Semiotics Core assumptions in semiotic analysis of media:
- Media texts are constructions- They are manufactured, both materially and ideologically - Meaning is socially determined- Social conventions inform our understanding of the organization and the rules of language - The social determination of meaning is more significant than producer intentions Ferdinand De Saussure - According to Saussure, all linguistic signs are a combination of signifier and signified. The signifier or sound image refers to the material form of a sign as perceived by the senses such as the word "dog" as heard by a listener. The signified or mental concept is the idea evoked by the signifier. In this case, the idea of "dogness". Note that an actual dog is not part of this equation. Together, the signifier and signified constitute a sign - Signifier- Sound/Image - Signified- Concept - Characteristics of signs: Arbitrary, Linear, Difference - Synchronic analysis, which was Saussure's principal commitment, concerns the state of language in general: the linguistic system in a static state. It aims to illuminate the conditions for the existence of any language by examining the rules of combination and substitutability within a system. - Diachronic analysis, or evolutionary linguistics, by contrast, concerns the origins of languages and changes in sound or pronunciation over time (phonology). Since such changes are mainly found in parole, Saussure did not see diachronic analysis as a suitable method for investigating la langue. - Paradigm and syntagm are terms which relate to the rules of combination and substitution that de Saussure was most interested in. We'll address them in more detail in upcoming slides, as they can be applied to more than just language - Syntagm is about the combination and arrangement of signs - Paradigm is about differentiation and selection Charles Sanders Pierce Triadic theory of signs: - Object - Sign (referent) - Interpretant Kinds of signs: - Icon- Iconic signs operate according to the logic of similarity or likeness. Icons are referents that structurally resemble the objects they stand for. Examples include diagrams, maps, photographs, and other types of images - Index- Indexical signs are linked by cause or association to the objects they represent. Since smoke indicates fire, it functions as an indexical sign for fire. Finger pointing is also an indexical sign as an action that draws the eye to what is being pointed at
- Symbol- Symbols are linked to their corresponding objects purely by social convention or agreement. Pierce argues that all words, books, sentences and other conventional signs are symbols. Flags are symbols, so are brand logos Roland Barthes Levels of meaning: - Denotation - Connotation Example: - Denotation- Lion - Connotation- King, Royal, Courageous, Brave, Strength - Signifier- rose, signified #1- picture of rose, Signified #2- Passion - Myth- This is when socially constructed ideas come to seem normal Umberto Eco - His book, A theory of semiotics defines it as the discipline studying everything that can be used in order to tell a lie because if something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth. In fact it cannot be used to tell at all. The implication is that signs never tell the whole story or truth. Rhetorical tools and structures Rhetoric- The use of language by humans to influence and move other humans Applications: - Verbal Rhetoric - Word choices. Use of literary devices including alliteration, rhyme, allusion, euphemism, metaphor, synecdoche, ellipses, cliché - Presentational Rhetoric - Tone (speed, volume, formality, accent), Gestures, Body Language, Sound effects, Mise en scene - Editorial Rhetoric - Tools and strategies used when producing videos. Sequence length, Organization, Cuts vs continuous shots, Voice over narration, Framing, Legibility of images - Rhetorical tools for image capturing and construction - Composition, Retouching, Cropping, Juxtaposition, Montage Rhetorical structures of Media Texts
Uploaded by PrivateFire4300 on coursehero.com