What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Semiotics as a Way to Analyse Culture? Essay

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What are the strengths and weaknesses of semiotics as a way to analyse culture?
There is no easy way to describe semiotics, the dictionary tells you to ‘see: linguistic’ and on the internet there are many different explanations. Umberto Eco, (1976) believes ‘Semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign. A sign is everything which can be taken as significantly substituting for something else. This something else does not necessarily have to exist or to actually be somewhere at the moment in which a sign stands in for it. Thus semiotics is in principle the discipline studying everything which can be used in order to lie. If something cannot be used to tell a lie, conversely it cannot be used to tell the truth; it cannot in fact be used 'to tell' at all.’ However if we understand this to be true, then everything from a facial movement to a movie poster, we must take as a sign and able to deconstruct semiotically.   Daniel Chandler (1995), on his website, believes that ’Semiotics can be applied to anything which can be seen as signifying something - in other words, to everything which has meaning within a culture.’ By using semiotics to analyse culture, we open up a wider range of what we can study. Signs are multilingual, some may mean the same in one language to another, and however others may mean completely different definitions. If a man from Russia wanted to use an English toilet, he would know which one to choose due to the sign on the door. This signifier connotes meaning to him and guides his in the right directions. Conversely, the hand gesture for OK in England and America would be noticed by each other, would have different meanings in other countries. Money in Japan, sex in Mexico and homosexuality in Ethiopia. Analysing culture however is a difficult task on its own. Whether using semiology to make this is easy is difficult to foresee. Therefore in this essay I will draw up some advantages and disadvantages of using semiotics to...

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What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Semiotics as a Way to Analyse Culture?. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 22, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/What-Are-The-Strengths-And-Weaknesses-356317.html