1.Semiotics-signs,symbols,Icons & branding.

Semiotics= CL:The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation– designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification and communication

IN: It explores how words and other signs make meaning. In semiotics, a sign is anything that stands in for something other than itself.

  • Signs produce “meaning”

  • Sign= significance 

  • Social production of meaning via signs, symbols and icons.

=Non-Vocal Communications=

Signals, signs, and symbols.

  • Separate form of language

-object=signifier(phys exis)—thing=signified (mental concept)

Signs = Index

the connection between sign and object is factual or causal

…..•eg. smoke as an index for fire, dark clouds as an index for rain….


CL:signs represent objects

•the connection between sign and object is factual (or causal)

•Eg. traffic signs

IN: something (such as a physical feature or a mode of expression) that leads one to a particular fact or conclusion : INDICATION

===Icon ===

CL:a sign that represents something or a person

IN: a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.

•photograph, painting, image of deity

•icon of Christ


CL: signs that have no direct link to the object.

IN: a mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object, function, or process, e.g. the letter or letters standing for a chemical element or a character in musical notation.

•the “meaning” is in the interpretation of the sign

•understood through previous knowledge and experience

•flags, emblems, etc. eagles. bathroom sign


Colors: red in louboutins= passion, love 

White: purity (when married dress) peace, innocence.

Black: death, gothic,  

Green: bio, ecology, jealousy= Shakespeare green-eyed monster

===Corporate logos===

-Lacoste stands for crocodile

-an apple for Apple etc.

– M for McDonalds

===Semiotics & advertising===

-goddess, mythology, hypersexuality 

IN: Advertising, is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are typically businesses wishing to promote their products or services.

2.Narrative and Genres


IN: Narrative writing must tell a story. Fiction is writing that is imagined and not based on real events. Nonfiction is based on real events and could be narrative writing. Characteristics of narrative writing include characters, plot, conflict, setting, and point of view.

==Genres=IC: Word « genre »  comes from Latin/French for « kind » or « category »

•A genre allows us to classify

IN: a style or category of art, music, or literature.

===Elements of Genre===

Genre describes works that share specific characteristics:

structure, style, themes, setting, etc.

=Plato classification= Genres 

•Poetry (epic and lyrical), •Drama (tragedy, comedy), •Prose

=Aristotle genres=

•Tragedy, •Epic, •Comedy, •Parody (Satire)

=Shakespearean genres=

•Tragedy, •Comedy, •History

===Codes and Conventions===

A narrative in a specific genre adopts the codes and conventions of other works in that genre — and lives up to the same expectations.

=Genre Codes=

•Codes are schemes of symbols that produce meaning:

(1)Technique – the structure and patterns in the work (number of acts/chapters, type of paint, style of writing, etc.)

=Genre Conventions=

IC: the conventional ways of presenting a narrative

•romantic comedies: always a happy wedding and a marriage

•action films: always a hero and a villain, good guy triumphs at the end

•noir thrillers: low lighting and darkness

—Science Fiction genre— c&c

•stories about science and technology, •setting – in the future

•outer space, on a different planet or universe/dimension

•based on partially true fictions laws or theories of science

—-Mystery genre—- c&c

•involves solving a puzzling event or situation – eg. a crime or murder

•main character is the person who investigates wrongdoing (murder)

•narrative follows a complex plot of investigation

—-Horror genre—- c&c

•a monster or incarnation of evil, •a dark gothic setting, •gruesome murders

•catharsis – purging of emotions through pity and terror

•moral lessons

—-Psychological Thriller—- c&c

•sub genre of horror and thriller, •deranged, unhinged mental states of the characters

•story driven by fear and anxiety

—Hybrid genres—-

—-Romantic comedy—- (Rom Com)

Rom Com: codes and conventions?

•boy meets girl, •well-matched couple – chance meeting

•they are kept apart by a plot complication, •they overcome and reuinite

•happy ending marriage

—- western genre—-

=is a genre of fiction incorporating Western lifestyle which tell stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse.

===Genres construct audiences===

•genre construction goes both ways

•genres are constructed by codes and conventions that make up a genre

•genres also « construct » an audience which is familiar with the codes and conventions and

===Hierarchy of Genres?===

Music: Mozart vs Metallica

Film genres: Drama vs Action

3.Representation & Types

===Media Representation===

•Media don’t present reality – they RECONSTRUCT reality

•Hence “re”-presentation

IN: the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way.

===Stereotypes: definition===

•from Greek for “solid impression”

•in modern significance, means “the attributes that are believed to characterize a group”.

•cognitive function on interpersonal level

•social function on inter-group level

—Stereotypes: function—

1.Categorize: descriptive function

2.Evaluation: normative function

•Stereotypes create “us” and “others” categories – they “frame” our awareness

Gender stereotypes: Blue: men Pink: girl 

Pink glue by Pritt

IN:mistaken idea or belief many people have about a thing or group that is based upon how they look on the outside, which may be untrue or only partly true.

===Cultural Imperialism===

-The beauty myth = MEDIA IMperialism?

-beauty pressure

-media influence

-Fair skin industry India 

=Three Hypotheses=

1.Local beauty  ideals (pale skin)

2.Colonialism (India, Africa)

3.Global media (advertising, celebrities)

===Blackface and Racism===

  • Gucci, Santa in Netherlands 

Blackface Case Studies

1.Hollywood movies

2.Fashion & Brands


2.Blackface as a “coming of age” ritual

4.Commercialization of racist iconography

4.Self-Representation – Selfie Culture

==Social media “Dysmorphia”==

IN: deformity or abnormality in the shape or size of a specified part of the body.

  • The curated constructed self

==Goffmann: Presentation of Self===

  • “Life is a performance”

Impression managment is goffmans

-IN: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a book that was published in the U.S. in 1959, written by sociologist Erving Goffman. In it, he uses the imagery of theater in order to portray the nuances and significance of face-to-face social interaction

– argued that the elements of human interactions are dependent upon time, place, and audience.

– Different personalities with different people

==Front” and “Back” Self==

•the “front” role conforms to social norms, expected duties and manners of an attributed role  (appearance, manner, signals)

•the “back” = real self (no “audience”)

==Online Identity==

•self-fabrication of personal identities

•individual empowerment of identity construction

•online staging of the self

•private vs public self

•public self a “construction”?

-Strong is the new skinny?

==Selfie culture;==

  1. Robert Cornelius, 1839

  2. Anastasia Romanov, 1910

  • extreme selfie, after sex, group

=Kylie jenner=

  1. Per sponsored post in 2018: $1,000,000

-Real vs Constructed Self-

Finstagram VS iNSTAGRAM

===The curated self = fake?===

==81% lie about themselves online==

-4 out of 5 people lie about their age, height or weight in their online dating profiles.

===”Attention Economy”===

“Economic activity is driven by the need to capture the attention of the public in the face of ever-increasing competition.”

=Social Media driving “attention economy”=

•Quantitative – more and more social media services = “time suck”

•Qualitative – social media based on “sharing”, turning consumers into producers and solicitors of ”attention” from others


Self-presentation practices endemic in social media, in which users strategically formulate a profile, reach out to followers, and reveal personal information to increase attention and thus improve their online status.

=3 Cultural Phenomena=

•digital documentation

•the proliferation of celebrity and microcelebrity culture

•conspicuous consumption

5. Media, Celebrity & Political Activism

=-Celebrity Power= Celebrity diplomacy

-Angelina Jolie en UN

=celebrities bring “moral” dimension to political action


« the state of being widely known or recognized; renown; celebrity »

==Celebrities: Pros==

1.Star power = attraction, appeal

2.Access to leaders (who admire stars)

3.Media skills – create awareness

4.Frankness – confront problems directly

==Celebrities: Cons==

1.Lack of expertise – superficial understanding

2.State diplomats resent their fame

3.They become “insiders”

4.Western-centric – American stars

5.Fame is fleeting