Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sun Ho's Quesetions - 10/26

Week 9: October 26 – Semiotic, Marxist & Metaphorical Analysis

1. In chapter 1, Berger (2005) wrote about semiotic analysis of television. Although my group's assignment wasn't grounded on semiotic analysis, there was one thing I kept thinking about while writing up my analysis and Berger also mentions about it in the chapter:

" its [semiotic analysis'] concern for the relationship of elements and production of meaning in a text, it ignores the quality of the work itself" (p. 34).

He says it may be like "judging a meal by the quality of the ingredients, without any concern for how the food was cooked or how it tasted like." For example, see how the signifier and signified are defined when camera work and editing techniques are examined: e.g. pan down (signifier) - power, authority (signified); cut (signifier) - simultaneity, excitement (signified). It indeed is exciting to look at the "ingredients" but after a while you think, okay what was the meal again? How was it cooked? Does it taste good? I completely agree and would like to think about some of the solutions to it.

2. Berger concludes chapter 2 by saying, "ultimately, each of us has to decide whether Marxism still makes sense...if not, he or she should approach media analysis from another viewpoint" (p. 70). Interesting to see this part where he recognizes the primacy of individual subjectivity when talking about Marxist analysis..!

3. Berger starts chapter 5 by explaining the process of code-breaking in these analyses using Agatha Christie's work, Murder on the Orient Express: "All kinds of signs and significations are observable, but the connections among them are not obvious. Once we see how they are related and 'break the code' the mystery is solved" (p. 143). As an example, the author examines the story in multiple dimensions including oppositions, social and political dimensions of class vs communality of interest. I guess my thoughts are going back to our conversation last week about interpreting one's grandmother's activities as feminist or not. In journalism and mass communication research, I think we need to be more careful in assembling the codes and making sense of the meanings - but what makes our analyses more powerful when we deal with news programs?

4. Ana (2002) provides a great framework on topics of metaphor and public opinion. Methods and examples included in section 7 was particularly interesting. However, the author once compares journalistic writing with fiction writing about similar political topics and concludes that "the metaphors in newstexts are relatively underdeveloped stylistic devices." Now can journalistic writing be compared to fiction writing in these analyses?

5. Faux & Kim (2006) suggest a multileveled dialectical analysis for examination of photographic images. I really enjoyed reading the first two sections, layering of the image and dialectical perspectives. However, after reading the methods section, I had to read again the above two parts to find out how their method matches the concept of multileveled dialectical analysis. Is it only me who wanted to hear more about their method?!

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