Studies in Media Content and Media Audiences
In addition to signifier, which stands in place of something, a sign also has to represent something a concept or meaning and this Is known as the referent. The referent constitutes of the idea this specific sign is referring to. However, between the signifier and the referent there can be different relations with reference to the different kinds of signs, which will be discussed in the next section.
The third component is the signified; the signified represents the meaning attached to a sign by a receiver. These meanings are complex, Impalpable and may vary from person to person.
Thus the signified can be seen as the result portrayed from the other two components. An example would be a picture of a heart, to many people especially on Valentine’s Day It old represent love and with that, emotions that the receiver attaches to the idea of love. 2. 1.
2 There are four different kinds of signs arbitrary, Iconic, symbolic and Indelicacy. An Arbitrary sign is a linguistic sign, usually a word: like cat, this word by no means resembles a cat, but as said by De Assure is a learnt representation of one.
People learn what this word means and automatically attach a visual representation be it actually or in memory. But it is also important to keep in mind that this type of sign is subject to language, as someone who only speaks Spanish would not be able to understand what the word cat Is unless he/she Is taught. Visual images, be it paintings, film images or photographs. Here the sign is as it resembles, so if there is a photograph of ex-president Nelson Mandela (sign), it will resemble that exactly (its referent).
This type of sign only has one meaning, being what is seen and thus it is not subject to language. Weather your Russian or Spanish a picture of Bin Laden resembles Bin Laden. The next sign is a symbolic sign, and has to do with symbols and these are associated differently dependent of the person’s culture and beliefs. A picture of Merry in a entry like Puerco Rich automatically reflects religion, Roman Catholic, respect and faith, whereas in places like Dubbed it is Just a picture off lady. Because that lady does not mean anything in their culture.
These are usually symbols/signs that do not look like what there resemble, but they have a deeper symbolic meaning, such as the moon and the star on food package’s this signifies Hall which means the meat was slaughtered and blessed the Muslim way. Another example would also be a forbidden road sign, which looks like a circle with a line though it, this is a sign learnt and is there to forbid entry. Lastly Indelicacy sign is “a sign that is causal relation between the sign and the referent”. Fourier, 2009:52)These signs are more like linkages one occurrence leads to a specific result or pattern, so if you see lots of clouds in the sky it symbolisms rain, thus the clouds lead to rain. The same applies to smoke which means fire.
2. 2 Application to a visual example First and foremost the photograph here is an iconic sign, not only because it is a visual image but also because it resembles the actual event and group of people who are on strike to dismiss administrative interference.
It is a photo taken of this specific vent as seen and this is an element of iconic signs. In addition, no matter who you are or where in the world you’re from, one may derive that this photo portrays a group of middle aged black people trying to get a message across, another iconic sign. People going on strike signifies that people are unhappy with a specific issue as seen in this picture , in countries like South Africa going on strike is a norm as this is how the people go about expressing their concerns when all other methods fail.
Thus this can be seen as a symbolic sign specifically for people in South Africa. Moreover this action, striking will result in some sort of response, positive or negative but they have to respond at some point, which makes this a indelicacy sign because there is a causal element to it, they may either dismiss administrative interference or make another deal, but there must be some sort of outcome. Arbitrary signs are evident in the boards or posters the people in the photograph are holding up.
They are trying to get their message across using linguistic signs that is want to stop administrative interference, by saying away with it. However the only people that will understand this sign are those who are familiar with the English Ritter language.
Furthermore the fact that this people chose to write these messages in Capital letters brings across the message of aggression, anger and command. In Some ways one may say that, that is a symbolic sign because this action of capital letters can bring across strong emotions. TEXTUAL ANALYSIS: NARRATIVE AND ARGUMENT 3. 1 Theoretical discussion 3. 1. 1 There are three characteristics of argumentation which are as follows: It is seen as an active process as it aims in some way to change or modify an existing state of affairs or way of acting.
It is a social practice as it engages in a process of immunization that seeks to resolve a difference of opinion or persuade the listener to share an opinion. It is a Joint process as it can only work if the listener is open to the argument and therefore persuasion. . 1. 2 There are three kinds of rhetorical practices namely; forensic, pietistic (or demonstrative) and deliberative. These three categories differ by the subject the arguer address and the desired response of the audience.
The following is with reference to Richardson (2007:155) The first kind discussed is forensic which can also be understood as Judicial argument because its main focus is on past actions and raciest in a court of law. It seeks to either defend or accuse someone and tends to focus on topics of Justice and injustice.
Its strength is based on the proof and examination of evidence, through which it seeks to expose to the audience so they may position themselves by attacking or defending. Epithetic argument which can also be referred to as demonstrative, rose out of public rituals. Its focus is on the character or reputation of the person or persons and attempts to persuade the audience to admire their goodness or dislike and reject them for their dishonor.
It is a process to include praise or defense as well as ensure or denunciation.
Lastly we have deliberative argument which is made up of possible future actions in relation to there desirability or undesirability. It seeks either to persuade or dissuade the audience in relation to a future course of action using advantages and disadvantages. 3. 1.
3 The three modes of persuasion as identified by Aristotle are as follows: 1 . Ethos- an ethic argument promotes the personal character and quality of the speaker. It is used to effect when both sides of the argument are reasonably convincing, thus an appeal to the ethos of the speaker is useful.
This argument is cost effective when the person has first-hand experience which works to persuade the audience, or it is assumed that they are trustworthy. Basically works as an pathetic argument seeks to induce a particular mind-set among the audience , to move them, to make them feel particular emotions, pity, fear , anger even guilt so that they may open up to the line of argument. Many people use these to Justify their action even though it might be wrong.
Moreover, these arguments don’t only work in harsh circumstances, but may also invoke emotions of love and shame, so that people may behave in new ways. . And Finally Logos- a logistic argument relies on logic or proof provided. An appeal to logos relies on two kinds of arguments, either inductive or deductive and will be discussed in the next section. 3. 1.
4 A deductive argument is made by making a series of statements and from these statements a valid conclusion is extracted. Whereas, an inductive argument draws on specific cases to present the argument. In other words deductive can be seen as moving from a variety to something specific and inductive represents the opposite specific to variety. 3. 1.
There are three types of inductive argument; Sympathetic argument, argument y analogy or argument of a causal relationship. In all these cases, they relate to a particular context and propose that the argument is plausible. In sympathetic argument an individual is used to illustrate a wider example, very much like the concept of stereotyping. And terms like ‘characteristics’ and typical’ serve as indicators that this is a form of inductive argument. On the other hand an argument by analogy draws on comparison to make a point and makes use of words such as ‘similarly, ‘and so also’ or accordingly.
An example would be describing a group of people as monkeys or anything else for that matter.
Finally, argument of causal relationship assumes a cause effect relationship and is frequently used when attributing responsibility to the media for some social problem. 3. 2 Application to visual example In the following essay I will conducted a visual application of a textual analysis on a women’s magazine advertisement for Vet. Which is a hair removal cream for women. This advertisement was found in the February edition of the Cosmopolitan.
It depicts a beautiful model, who oozes with sexuality and femininity, she looks effortless, happy and radiant. She’s also wearing a pink flow dress which is consistent with owe smooth her legs are because she uses this particular product being advertised. The deliberate argument is the first element that stands out from this print advertisement, because it seeks to persuade as well as plant a desire for all women to look like this model. It gives women hope, and actions to take when buying beauty products, because if they buy this specific one, they will know what beauty feels like.
On the other hand the epithetic element is also shown, as Melinda bam is portrayed as a beauty God, and that we should praise her beauty and perfection. It causes the audience to admire her, as she is a demonstration of real beauty.
Furthermore, the ethic argument is evident in this advertisement as they use Miss is seen as one of the most beautiful women in South Africa, and thus the epitome of perfection and perfect to promote a beauty product. She makes the product believable, and one would trust a beauty queen to use the best hair removal products.
In addition, this advertisement also has components of pathetic argument because it tries to induce a mindset of true beauty, that this product will make one look and feel like a beauty queen. It prays on the desire of every woman to look retreat-taking. And as its slogan states this is “What beauty feels like” which drives women to buy this product to experience beauty. Logistic argument is also present in this advertisement as it states in huge letters, 9 out of 10 women who use Vet have smooth radiant skin, here they are using proof in statistics to persuade women, and that this product does what it is intended to do.
This 9/10 can also be seen as a Forensic argument, because it focuses on women who have used Vet in the past and their ideals, this notion defends the product and makes it both more realistic, effective and desirable. The advertisement reflects the idea that if one woman, who uses Vet can look this beautiful then all women can do so too, this is an example of a symptomatic argument. It also compares every women to this model, to make them believe that no matter who you are this is the best hair removal cream, and will make you look like this picture, here is an argument by analogy.
A cause effect relationship is shown buy the suggestion of the product if you buy it, you will feel and look as perfect as Melinda Bam. 4 NARRATIVE ANALYSIS 4.
1 Background to the series The series that will be analyses in this section is called Arrow, season two and Episode 10. This is an action drama series that revolves around a young playboy billionaire named Olivier Queen. The core of the story involves Olivier Who’s life takes a drastic turn once he goes away on a cruise with his dad, who later dies , yet he gets stranded on an island for the next 5 years.
He on this island, then uncovers many secrets and comes to realist his higher purpose life, which is to protect his city as the hero: Arrow. After 5 years of isolation on the island Olivier returns to his city as humanitarian version of himself as well as the vigilante archer Arrow.
The main characters are; John Doggie, who plays Oliver’s bodyguard, partner and good friend. Felicity Samoa, is a young lady and the brains behind the arrow she’s Oliver’s IT lady and partner. Moire Queen is Oliver’s mother, whose views remain uncertain throughout the series.
Theta Queen plays his troubled young sister, who is dating Roy Harper a crook that was saved by the vigilante and now wants to follow in his footsteps. And lastly detective Question Lance, father to Laurel and Sara and starling cities police detective. 4.
2 Aristotle three-act narrative structure Aristotle three act narrative is made up of a beginning, middle and an end resolution and finally denouement. ACTA : The exposition is displayed right at the beginning of the series and introduces the viewer to Oliver’s daily life.
The beginning of this specific episode shows Olivier as the Arrow chasing after a street king who is suspected of holding secrets of plans to destroy the city. After receiving no information from this suspect, he returns to the warehouse and the scene then depicts the ordinary routine of the Arrows team, his bodyguard and his assistant Felicity, who seems to be absent. What was Just scribed is the main relationship of the series, because they are responsible for the lives of all those in Sterling city.
Later on the viewer is then exposed to all the other main characters as they are going about their daily lives in Sterling City. Tension rises towards the end of the first act as Felicity returns and almost leads the Arrow into a death trap, Just before the intermission also known as a minor climax. This action causes suspense and keeps the audience glued to the screen till the intermission comes to an end. In Act two the plot thickens, as the storyline builds with the proceedings of a new RYO and all the work his done for the city.
Another minor climax is reached as a bomb explodes in the city.
Arrows mission then becomes to find out who is behind this, in addition there are flashbacks of occurrences on the island which is a clear indication off linear progress. In Act three, a huge climax is reached when Olivier realizes that the target for the next bombing is the rally, where the mayor has rounded up the entire city to attend, thus putting all these lives at steak. He sets up his team to find out where the next bomb is located close to the rally. The resolution is found here, where Just before
John and felicity unarm the main system that triggers the bomb, the villain reveals himself and shoots John in an attempt to proceed with his plan, but the Arrow stops him. And fights with him till his defeat.
Lastly, the denouement rounds off the story as they uncover that this villain had a psychotic problem, and he felt that the city is to blame for his unhappy childhood and murder of his parents. In addition to the beginning of this episode where Felicity was absent and Olivier was angry with her, Olivier finally finds reason and apologies for being insensitive to her needs as a teammate. . Theoretical discussion 4. 3. 1 Umber Echo’s understanding of narrative, developed out of an obsession of finding out what draws people to a novel.
He therefore set out an objective to find the reasons behind the incredible success of the James Bond novels. Thus he concluded that the novel became popular in a world of English descent. Because it portrays the British as positive, superior and highly intelligent and this won the audience over, moreover English people felt that they could relate to these stories in this particular time as well as the fact that the enemy was hardly stereotypical.
In addition Echo explained the 3 distinct levels that make up a narrative which will be discussed in the The French structuralism Roland Breathes views the theory of narrative, by looking first into linguistics. Her assumption is that language is made up of a system of signs that relate to a specific society at a specific time. Now analyzing her model; one can derive that it is made up of two layers.
The first layer is the story which sets out the chain of events. The second is the discourse, which is the expression or form of story.
Chatham (1978:19) adds to this by saying the story is the what in the narrative… Discourse is the how.
These two layers cannot exist independently. Vladimir Prop, has a structural approach to a narrative analysis, he analyses various Russian folk in order to find its underlying structure. He realized that most folk tale scenarios are relatively the same as per the example a gift is given to someone who is then transported to somewhere else, Prop labeled these action s constant. And noted that different actions may produce identical constants.
He then compiled 31 constant functions that are sequential and common with all folk tales.
These 31 functions were split into 6 categories which them looks much like the Outdoor model, the six disgorges are as follows: Preparation Complication Transference Struggle Return Recognition Etcetera Outdoor narrative model is the simplest and functions on two levels (Fiske Bibb:138-139); a state of being which is either stable or unstable and a causal transformation from one state of being to another via a chain of events.
From those two levels he further determines 5 steps of linear progression which are as follows: A state of Equilibrium A disruption of that equilibrium by some action Recognition that there has been a disruption Attempts to restore the equilibrium A reinstatement of equilibrium 4. 3. 2 For Umber Echo there are three distinct levels that make up a narrative, Level one being, binary oppositions , here he identifies 14 constant binary groups, four of them make up characters and the other ten are values personified by the four characters.
These binary groups such and hero: villain or love: death is an indication of a specific relationship between these two characters. An example would be that at the beginning of a movie hypothetically speaking, the hero is shown as an ordinary person going about his life, yet it is only when he comes into contact with his opposition that he turns into a strong, confident, rips his suit to reveal the Spenserian attire.
Level two: Play situations these are made up of the different sequence of events in novel or film.
To understand this, it should be noted that various oppositional characters are combined regularly throughout the novel, and what is responsible for the reader’s suspense is that they never know when this oppositions calla’s the algebra of the narrative structure. Meaning there is always a flow if events boy meets girls, boy saves girl from villain, boy trains hard and defeats the villain. But t doesn’t always happen in this exact sequence, it may be arranged in various ways and that is a play situation. Level one makes level two possible and level three the Machine ideology provides an outcome.
This level is made up of deeper meanings and associations, and builds onto the character to make them as realistic as possible in that specific time, if they were to portray a communist they would have to insure he looks and behaves in that particular manner. 4. 4 Application to visual example The binary oppositions are as follows and indicate specific relationships between the two: 1. The Arrow (Hero) – The book Oliver’s dad gave him, with names of Villains/ The Arrows partners teammates (dispatcher) 2. The Arrow – Guest Star (Mr.
Guest Star (Mr. Shaffer) -The city of Starling 4. The city of Starling (Victims) -The Arrow The values are as follows: 5. Good – EVil 6. Fear – Freedom 7.
Free will – Control 8. Luxury – Discomfort 9. Life – Death 10. Love – Revenge 1 1 . Jealousy- Teamwork 12. Trust -distrust 13.
Security -Danger 14. Lies- Truth Application of level 2: Play situations A. Villain threatens the civilians of Sterling city by producing a bomb B. The mates John and Felicity notify the arrow on clues that may lead to Mr. Shaffer C.
The Arrow Vs. the Villain Mr. Shaffer D. The Arrow defeats Mr. Shaffer (Villain) E. The Arrow saves the city and all those that are in danger F.
The Arrow makes amends with Felicity his teammate (Dispatcher) These play situations are in this sequence with reference to this particular series whereas they may be switched around in other cases, usually the dispatcher finds out in advance that a certain threat is opposed and notifies the hero of his plans. Meaning that A and B in this situation may be placed vice versa.
The Machine ideology as said before provides an outcome and the method of though between each character, such as what makes a good guy good and why is the bad guy bad, what is it that lead him to perform certain actions. These values and ideologies help the viewer understand that because of love, family and respect, Olivier Queen has dedicated his life to do good, and protect the people of Sterling that he was Just an ordinary shopkeeper with a great amount of rage and hunger for revenge. This shows the viewer that villains don’t necessarily have to have power, Just cruel intentions.
The main characters with reference to Umber Echo’s concepts are as follows: The Arrow (Hero) – The book Oliver’s dad gave him, with names of Villains/ The Arrows partners teammates (dispatcher) The Arrow – Guest Star (Mr.
Shaffer) Guest Star (Mr. Shaffer) -The city of Starling The city of Starling (Victims) -The Arrow 5 MEDIA AND VISUAL LITERACY 5. 1 Theoretical discussion 5. 1. 1 According to Moneywort (1998:96-108) three types of media literacy can be distinguished on the basis of how researchers and analysts view the mass media.
Media content literacy, the focus of content literacy is on the elements that can be mound in its setting that involves interpersonal communication, small-group communication and mass communication including the internet.
These elements refer to subject matter dealt with in media such as topics, themes, values, ideologies, settings, objects, characters, narratives and genres found in different text. Therefore it is required that a scholar or critic of media content literacy to be able to analyses all these elements that make up the content in a variety of media.
Based on the media literacy view the following research questions should be asked: 1 . What is the overt message? (The message that is clear and open) 2. What is the covert Message? (The deeper message that is hidden) 3. How did the content genre influence the construction of content? 4.
How can the content be read differently by different individuals? Whereas the first level of media literacy only focuses on content of messages, the second level lends its focus to the construction and characteristics of these texts and how they are placed together to produce a message as well as meaning.
The word Grammar in media grammar literacy suggests that communication media has its own so called Visual Language (Settle,1995:84). An Example of this visual engage or encoding variables are in print media would be the colors used the page shape and size, spacing, graphics Just to name a few, in film/television, it would be the focus of the camera, the image, zoom, scenes and shots. Basically all the qualities that make up this image, the MIS-en scene as said in French.
This could sound strange but aspects such as font can make a huge difference in conveying a message, depending on its size and stylistic effects. To be able to conduct an analyses on media grammar , one needs to be educated in different camera shots , names and settings , elements that not all people are aware off.
Society such as social, cultural, political and economic as well as the effect of mass media. As in turn, this mass media reciprocates and also moulds society conditions, ideas and methods of thought.
With that said; medium influences communication on both macro and micro levels. On a micro small-scale, questions have been asked with regards to why certain modes of communication differ in relation to the medium it’s communicated in. And based on a social semiotic theory of communication, visual communication has to serve several requirements in order to function as a system Krebs and Van Lenten (2000:40-2). Hence Metrifications where introduced to refer to forms or types of functions used to talk about a particular function fulfilled by means of communication 5.
Application to visual example To interpret the article assigned to this section we need not look at the single words, image or text in the article, but the overall story of the article to understand it as well as make sense of it. For instance at first glance, the title states the following; “who is to blame for Expurgate? ” Followed by an image of Indian High commissioner Veranda Guppy, the first thing that comes to mind is that the writer is insinuating that Veranda is to blame.
Whereas when one reads the entire article, that’s not it at all, because despite Veranda sharing the Guppy surname, they have no relation and in this case he Just played as the middle man. The text is made up good sentence construction and good language usage; it has been executed perfectly to promote an understanding for its readers. This is a very important point indeed, because the writer is keeping in mind that this matter will and should concern the entire nation, even someone who is not familiar with military reoccurred or politics would comprehend the message in the text.
Besides that, the writer hasn’t made use of any sense of complicated Jargon besides the word protocol, which may be defined by procedures in a particular group. This fact displays a high concern for the audience as well as to insure as said before their comprehension of the text. Both the metaphor and the ideology created by this article for the audience reflects that the South African system may be corrupt. That even the Military group of defense where there are procedures to be followed with reference to the countries feely may be bypassed.
Furthermore, they would be a long process of investigation and speculation into who is to blame, whereas this system should be insuperable.
Language in this case has a referential function, because it uses language to inform the readers about information of which they did not know about and discuss issues that are currently happening in our society. This article tells a story of a specific event that occurred, by describing it, interpreting it as well as giving possible suggestion as to how it came about, because who is to blame, is yet to be identified.