Chapter 3: Semiotic Approaches to Material Culture

Kevin Durán
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Kevin Durán
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Chapter 3: Semiotic Approaches to Material Culture
1 Semiotics
1.1 Science of signs, and a semiotic approach to material culture regards artifacts as signs whose meaning and significance have to be determined by the use of semiotic concepts
1.1.1 Studies sings in society, it is a social science and explains what signs are and how they function
1.2 Founding Fathers of Semiotics
1.2.1 Ferdinand de Saussure
1.2.1.1 Language is a self-contained system whose interdependent parts function and acquire value through their relationship to the whole
1.2.1.2 concepts derive their meaning from their opposites
1.2.1.3 "Sound-image"
1.2.1.3.1 An object or signifier
1.2.2 Charles Sanders Peirce
1.2.2.1 Signs have to supply some of the meanings. Something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity.
1.2.2.1.1 Iconic Signs
1.2.2.1.1.1 Signify by resemblance
1.2.2.1.2 Indexical Signs
1.2.2.1.2.1 signify by cause and effect
1.2.2.1.3 Symbolic signs
1.2.2.1.3.1 meaning must be learned
1.3 Nothing has meaning in itself; an object's meaning always derives from the network of relations in which it is embedded
2 Language
2.1 System of signs that express ideas
3 Semiology
3.1 Shows what constitutes a sign
4 Signify
4.1 Objects carry not only information, also constitute structured systems of signs
5 Object
5.1 somethings used for something, function as the vehicle of meaning
6 Umberto Eco
6.1 Theory of the lie
6.1.1 Signs can be used to mislead others, must always approach objects with a note of caution
7 Denotation
7.1 When dealing with artifacts, involves detailed descriptions and measurements
8 Conotation
8.1 Involves the cultural meanings and myths connected to them
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