Daniel Chandler – Semiotics for Beginners
Whilst semiotics is often encountered in the form of textual analysis, it also involves philosophical theorising on the role of signs in the construction of reality. Semiotics involves studying representations and the processes involved in representational practices, and to semioticians, ‘reality’ always involves representation.
There is now an important critical literature on the representations of women in the media and western art. John Berger’s book Ways of Seeing provides an accessible introduction, and Laura Mulvey’s famous essay on the male gaze launched an important literature in the field of cinema. And there’s a fine review essay by Paul Messaris available on the web. But Erving Goffman’s somewhat lesser-known study called Gender Advertisements is useful here because he focused on, among other things, poses common to magazine advertisements. “Commercial photographs,” Goffman points out, “involve carefully performed poses presented in the style of being ‘only natural’.” (84) Continue reading “♥ – A jewel, the essence”