Presentation on theme: "Representation & Roland Barthes’ Semiotics"— Presentation transcript:
1 Representation & Roland Barthes’ Semiotics Structuralism (3)
2 Outline 1. Representation 2. Semiotics: Representation and Production of MeaningTheories of RepresentationDe Saussure Re-Considered: Contribution & Limitations2. Semiotics:Major principles in semiotic readingsSign systems: fashion as an exampleSemiotic reading (1): denotation and connationSemiotic reading (2): first and second-order signification. (literal language and meta-language)Myth today defined3. Examples: Images of Nature in some Landscape Paintings and Ads
3 What is Representation? Not Re-Presentation (原音重現，身歷其境, 歷史現身)“Representation means using language to say something meaningful about, or to represent, the world meaningfully, to people.” (15)Using language (system of representation);To produce meanings (another system of representation) about (make connections among) things, andTo communicate them to some people.
4 What are the two systems of representation we use in representation (meaning production)? 1. Signs signifier (e.g. ‘love’ ‘I’)2. Conceptual System (pp ; e.g. love ‘romantic love,’ ‘puppy love,’ ’maternal love,’ etc.) frequently inseparable from the signified of our languages;Codes (pp )
5 What’s hidden in this stereogram Shapes formed because of 1) two-eye differences (wall-eyed; cross-eyed);2) the gestalt laws of organization (e.g. figure and ground)Conceptual System
6 What’s hidden in this stereogram ANSWER: BUNNY!
7 What’s this? What mental image (concept) does it correspond to?
8 Different Perspectives = Different Conceptual Systems
9 1. Conceptual System = the Context of a sign, which determines its meaning 2. Sign system– image or English letters
10 Two Systems at Work in Representation: What kind of room is this? A restaurant or a tea house?Signs: Red color, paper lantern, floor-to-ceiling windows, sofas, pillows, wood desk, ‘bamboo room,’ etc.
13 Representation= Meaning Production Different conceptual frameworks, or conceptual systems.What makes the difference?Different LanguagesTree, or a symbol of childhoodAre these meanings absolute or relational? Why?
14 Meaning – Essential or Relational? 1. “I” – no essence?2. Meanings– one truer/better than the other?–produced by ourselves or a system?I AM生活的意義在 增進人類全體的生活﹔* Note生命的意義在 創造宇宙繼起的生命。
15 Note: Relativism Is there an essential definition of our selves? e. g. 生為中國/劉家／輔大人，死為中國／劉家／輔大魂（鬼﹚。Self(-Definition) –not essential nor unchangeable;-- is relational (“I am A” implies “I am not B”). (i.e. binarist thinking may be at work.)-- is usu. determined by our value systems, if not given to or imposed on us by our society.-- can be contradictory, with so many conceptual systems we live in.Relational view of meaning is not relativism.Relativism: Everything is ok and nothing matters.
16 Theories of Representation Reflective approach –Some truth and functions to it (in communication, in knowledge acquisition)Representation as “Re-Presentation”Intentional approach – Can we decide the meanings of what we say? (p. 25)Representation as Self-Expression (得意而忘言；言止於心意深處)Constructivist approach –Things don’t mean; we construct meanings about them by using different systems of representation.Representation as Construction: We don’t speak language; language speaks us. (Activity 4)
17 De Saussure: Contribution & Limitations (pp. 32 – 35)Contributions to the Constructionist Theory of RepresentationArbitrary relations between signifier and signified Meanings in language can never be fixed; they are open to changes by ‘context’ (historical, social or personal).Langue vs. parole the social part of language;Limitations:too exclusive focus on language;Language is not a closed system. semiotics –the study of signs (languages in a broader sense)
19 Major principlesAll the cultural products and activities read as process or results of signification. No meaning is inherent or natural.2. There are more than one (arbitrary) relations between signifiers and signified.(iconic --resemblance, indexical --cause, symbolic -- arbitrary).3. There are more than one level of meanings. denotation and connotation.
20 What kinds of signs are they? indexicalIconicSymbolic= Church= crossroad= airport
21 Sign System: Fashion as an Example Fashion codes (signs + concepts)(Textbook pp )Fabric: Silk= feminine, denim= masculine, casual, cotton = comfortable, khaki= military, formal.skirt (+ silk)= feminine; jeans (+ cotton T-Shirt) =casual or masculine
22 Sign System: Rules of Selection and Combination All social practices as sign-systems and thus are open to cultural interpretation (or de-mystification).e.g. the meaning of a jacket defined by its contexts.e.g. the “langue” of clothes (selection & combination)System:a. blouse, shirt, T-shirt ;b. skirt, trouserssentence:1. blouse + skirt + high heeled shoes X snickers2. blouse + jeans + snickers X not for concert
23 Fashion and Myth: from denotation to connotation; description to prescription “ Mist gold, pure gold, and black gold are all flashing in full glamour since most collections are heavily weighted toward evening cloths with an ostentatious dressing chic.If gold is too much for you, don’t worry, for here comes the backup that makes you in style as well, the color of camel! As usual, camel has always been playing its role of warming up the winter, which has been so elegantly carried out by the blazing gold as it is this year. “ (Sophie Ko)
24 Fashion: from language to myth “Leather, of course, is something that can’t be left out in each winter.”“Fur, for sure, is a must, especially for collars, ”“As for trousers, they really do need to be slim-fitting and skinny-legged to be chic this season! ” myth: 紫醉金迷、世紀末的華麗(Sophie Ko)
25 Semiotic reading (1): Denotation and Connotation e.g. Panzani pasta1. Denotation: “the real objects in the scene”The signifiers: “these same objects photographed.”2. Connotation: “half-opened bag” spilling out onto the table freshness, the domestic3. Italianness (red green white)4. ‘a total culinary service”5. Arrangement like “still life” painting
27 sign (full)--denotation Semiotic reading (2): Different levels of signification: primary signification & secondary significationsign (full)--denotationSignifier + signified =([home])primary signification:Secondary significationSign (empty)/Form+ content = sign--connotation:Homepage, country cottage, etc.Barthes’ examples:rose, black pebble.
28 Myth Sign (empty)/ Form + content = sign --connotation: France as a colonialismmilitarinessSignifier + signified =Young negro, in uniform, saluting,With eyes uplifted, fixedon the tricolorsign (full)—denotation([Black solider salutinga French flag])Patriotism/submissionprimary signification:Secondary significationSign (empty)/Form+ content = sign--connotation: France as aGreat empire, loved by all her “sons.”
29 “Myth”: distortion, naturalizing The form(on the secondary level) does not suppress the original meaning, it only impoverishes it, it puts it at a distance...myth hides nothing: its function is to distort, not to make disappearTarget: Myth has an imperative, buttonholing character: ...it is I whom it has come to seek. ...For this interpellant speech is at the same time a frozen speech: at the moment of reaching me, it suspends itself, turns away and assumes the look of a generality; it stiffens, it makes itself looks natural and innocent