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留学生论文:符号学分析的优势Strengths of Semiot

Semiotics for Beginners
Daniel Chandler
Strengths of Semiotic Analysis
Semiotics can help to denaturalize theoretical assumptions in academia just as in everyday life; it can thus raise new theoretical issues (Culler 1985, 102; Douglas 1982, 199). Whilst this means that many scholars who encounter semiotics find it unsettling, others find it exciting. Semiotic techniques 'in which the analogy of language as a l留学生论文system is extended to culture as a whole' can be seen as representing 'a substantial break from the positivist and empirical traditions which had limited much previous cultural theory' (Franklin et al. 1996, 263). Robert Hodge and Gunther Kress argue that unlike many academic disciplines, 'semiotics offers the promise of a systematic, comprehensive and coherent study of communications phenomena as a whole, not just instances of it' (Hodge & Kress 1988, 1). Semiotics provides us with a potentially unifying conceptual framework and a set of methods and terms for use across the full range of signifying practices, which include gesture, posture, dress, writing, speech, photography, film, television and radio. Semiotics may not itself be a discipline but it is at least a focus of enquiry, with a central concern for meaning-making practices which conventional academic disciplines treat as peripheral. As David Sless notes, 'we consult linguists to find out about language, art historians or critics to find out about paintings, and anthropologists to find out how people in different societies signal to each other through gesture, dress or decoration. But if we want to know what all these different things have in common then we need to find someone with a semiotic point of view, a vantage point from which to survey our world' (Sless 1986, 1). David Mick suggests, for instance, that 'no discipline concerns itself with representation as strictly as semiotics does' (Mick 1988, 20; my emphasis). Semiotics foregrounds and problematizes the process of representation.
Traditional structural semiotics was primarily applied to textual analysis but it is misleading to identify contemporary semiotics with structuralism. The turn to social semiotics has been reflected in an increasing concern with the role of the reader. In either form, semiotics is invaluable if we wish to look beyond the manifest content of texts. Structuralist semiotics seeks to look behind or beneath the surface of the observed in order to discover the underlying organization of phenomena. The more obvious the structural organization of a text or code may seem to be, the more difficult it may be to see beyond such surface features (Langholz Leymore 1975, 9). Searching for what is 'hidden' beneath the 'obvious' can lead to fruitful insights. Semiotics is also well adapted to exploring connotative meanings. Social semiotics alerts us to how the same text may generate different meanings for different readers.
Semiotics can also help us to realise that whatever assertions seem to us to be 'obvious', 'natural', universal, given, permanent and incontrovertible are generated by the ways in which sign systems operate in our discourse communities. Art historian Keith Mosley comments that:



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