semiology

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semiology

or

semiotics

the general science of SIGNS, whether these signs appear in language, in literature or in the world of artefacts. As an aspect of STRUCTURALISM, semiology evolved from the linguistic studies of SAUSSURE. Its leading exponent was Roland BARTHES.

Although the idea of a general science of signs first appeared at the turn of the century in the work of Saussure, it was not until the 1960s, and in the fields of MASS MEDIA research and CULTURAL STUDIES that the idea was developed. In the realm of cultural studies semiology has involved the study of areas ignored by other disciplines (e.g. eating habits) and opened up the question of the relationships between cultural codes and power relationships. Its key concepts are the signifier (a thing, word or picture) and the signified (the mental picture or meaning indicated by the signifier), and the sign is the association or relationship established between them (see also SIGNIFIER AND SIGNIFIED). Some relationships may be fairly direct (iconic) and others may involve considerable mediation because of their arbitrariness. Semiology draws attention to the layers of meaning which may be embodied in a simple set of representations (e.g. the representations of’Christmas’ on greetings cards: Santa, Merrie England, Virgin and Child, fluffy animals, and so on). Barthes said that signs communicate latent as well as manifest meanings. They can signify moral values and they can generate feelings or attitudes in the viewer (e.g. a photograph of a Rottweiler = dog = power, a fighting dog = threat to children). Thus signs may be collected and organized into complex codes of communication. See also BRICOLAGE.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
(208) Here, according to Barthes, the Sarrasinean aesthetic of the statue is dangerous in that it invokes the "inside." But one would suspect that the Sarrasinean aesthetic of the "inside" is dangerous because this "inside" is associated with "a real woman." As a matter of fact, it involves the sculptor's fixation upon the Ideal Woman, not "a real woman." In connection with the Sarrasinean aesthetic of the statue, the semiologist attempts to set up a system of distinctions among three mimetic modes of representation: the statue, the painting, and the verbal narrative.
To start creating this Competitor Advertising Decoding Kit, key beer brands' advertising was sourced from six representative markets worldwide -- Cameroons, Germany, Malaysia, Spain, UK and USA -- and analysed by semiologists with expert knowledge of these markets.
Umberto Eco, the Italian semiologist, is a master diagnostician of this fundamentally nostalgic desire.
Victorian Things makes no claim to be comprehensive, nor does Briggs squeeze arcane symbolism from his multifarious bits and bobs as a French semiologist might have done.
By insisting on the way that the semiologist "works" to produce meaning, Barthes gave birth, despite his own theoretical cautions and his distance from subjective theories of culture, to the reader as performer (Barthes "Death" 148).
(6) The notion of the binary opposition may be traced to the work of the semiologist Ferdinand de Saussure.
Using the late Soviet semiologist Yuri Lotman's theory of the semiotics of culture as his conceptual framework, the author analyzes and contrasts two texts, the Letter of Prester John, a twelfth-century work describing a fabulous Christian kingdom in the East, and Thomas More's Utopia.
Critical thought is here personified by the heroic semiologist, in this case, Cohen himself.
Since language is constitutive of human reality - existentially - it cannot be dispensed with as the mystic advises; nor can it be alienated from our humanity as the scientist, the linguist and the semiologist advise.
a mere "reviewer," "semiologist," "narratologist," or "psychoanalyst." He must become .
The signs this savage semiologist reads are on balance "des signes de malheur," for representation is constrained.