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Structuralism and Semiotics Structuralism Structuralism is a way of thinking about the world which is predominantly concerned with the perceptions and description of structures.
At its simplest, structuralism claims that the nature of every element in any given situation has no significance by itself, and in fact is determined by all the other elements involved in that situation.
The full significance of any entity cannot be perceived unless and until it is integrated into the structure of which it forms a part Hawkes, p.
Structuralists believe that all human activity is constructed, not natural or "essential. Semiology Semiotics, simply put, is the science of signs. Semiology proposes that a great diversity of our human action and productions--our bodily postures and gestures, the the social rituals we perform, the clothes we wear, the meals we serve, the buildings we inhabit--all convey "shared" meanings to members of a particular culture, and so can be analyzed as signs which function in diverse kinds of signifying systems.
Linguistics the study of verbal signs and structures is only one branch of semiotics but supplies the basic methods and terms which are used in the study of all other social sign systems Abrams, p.
Binary Opposition - "pairs of mutually-exclusive signifiers in a paradigm set representing categories which are logically opposed and which together define a complete universe of discourse relevant ontological domaine.
In such oppositions each term necessarily implies its opposite and there is no middle term" Daniel Chandler. The distinction is important because Saussure contended that the relationship between signifier and signified is arbitrary; the only way we can distinguish meaning is by difference one sign or word differs from another.
Instead, meaning--the interpretation of a sign--can exist only in relationship with other signs.
Selden and Widdowson use the sign system of traffic lights as an example. The color red, in that system, signifies "stop," even though "there is no natural bond between red and stop" Meaning is derived entirely through difference, "a system of opposites and contrasts," e. Northwestern UP, Hill and Wang, The Pleasure of the Text.
Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature. U of California P, Jefferson, Anne and David Robey. Revolution in Poetic Language and Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art.
After the New Criticism. The Raw and the Cooked. John and Doreen Weighman. Semiotics of Poetry Peirce, Charles. Values in a Universe of Chance: Selected Writings of Charles S.
The Morphology of the Folktale. U of Texas P, Course in General Linguistics.The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
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