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Cultural Context and Design - Essay Example

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An author of the essay "Cultural Context and Design" presents a brief discussion of the method of semiotic analysis associated with the work of Roland Barthes. Followed by an account of the application of this method to the chosen advertisements…
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Cultural Context and Design
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Cultural Context and Design

Download file to see previous pages... The realms of linguistics and semiotics have been well researched and the literature is full of diverse view on the issue. As Ryder(2004) explains using appropriate literature support, " Linguistic and Cultural Semiotics is a branch of communication theory that investigates sign systems and the modes of representation that humans use to convey feelings, thoughts, ideas, and ideologies. Semiotic analysis is rarely considered a field of study in its own right but is used in a broad range of disciplines, including art, literature, anthropology, sociology, and the mass media. The semiotic analysis looks for the cultural and psychological patterns that underlie language, art, and other cultural expressions. Umberto Eco jokingly suggests that semiotics is a discipline for studying everything which can be used in order to lie." (1976, p7). Whether used as a tool for representing phenomena or for interpreting it, the value of semiotic analysis becomes most pronounced in highly mediated, postmodern environments where encounters with manufactured reality shift our grounding senses of normalcy". Ryder(2004) also explains ver. Barthes developed a sophisticated structuralist analysis to deconstruct the excessive rhetorical maneuvers within popular culture that engulfed Europe after World War II. Anything was fair game for Barthes's structuralist critique including literature, media, art, photography, architecture, and even fashion. Barthes's most influential work, Mythologies (1957/1972) continues to have an influence on critical theory today. Myths are signs that carry with them larger cultural meanings. In fifty-four short essays written between 1952 and 1954, Barthes describes myth as a well-formed, sophisticated system of communication that serves the ideological aims of a dominant class. Barthes's notion of myth is that of a socially constructed reality that is passed off as natural. A myth is a mode of signification in which the signifier is stripped of its history, the form is stripped of its substance, and then it is adorned with a substance that is artificial, but which appears entirely natural. Through mythologies, deeply partisan meanings are made to seem well established and self-evident. The role of the mythologist is to identify the artificiality of those signs that disguise their historical and social originsBarthes observes that the myth is more understandable and more believable than the story that it supplants because the myth introduces self-evident truths that conform to the dominant historical and cultural position. This naturalization lends power to such myths. They go without saying. They need no further explanation or demystification (Barthes, 1972: 130). American journalism is no less rich with its own mythical contributions to history. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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