Technique for identifying the narrative structure of cultural objects such as films, books, stories, paintings, adverts etc.
Semiotics is thus linked to STRUCTURALISM:
Structure: Elements + Relations: signs/images/words (the elements) and how they are fitted together (relations) in the ‘text’. TEXERE = to weave
The whole image has meanings which semiotics enables us to unravel
In a semiotic analysis we need to identify two TYPES of things:
1) Signs: signifier: the signifying unit or element; signified: the object pointed to b the signifer e.g. word ‘cat’ points to (means) cat. MIAOW!
2) And how they relate…
There is a word for the linking of signs by relations = SYNTAGM e.g.
‘The+cat+sat+on+the+mat’ is a syntagm
Words are linked by grammatical rules. That is why they are put in some positions and not others. A word’s occupies a definite place in a sentence and its equivalents can replace it (verbs by other verbs, but not nouns)
This is called PARADIGM
For Saussure there are 3 layers of the field of the linguistic:
PAROLE = an individual utterance (a combination of signifiers) meaningful only because of a code/rule system Saussure names as LANGUE.
According to Barthes, Saussure’s celebrated distinction between parole and langue is between an individual syntagm (a chain of signifiers e.g. a performed string of words or musical notes) and the group of conventions (the code/langue) that gives us the rules to produce/say/perform a parole e.g. rules of harmony in music; grammar in english; putting one colour with another in fashion)
The third level is that of LANGAGE (without a ‘u’): the unorganised available totality of bits of all kinds of languages e.g. words (can become a parole, e.g. an essay or a novel or poem when langue is applied); sounds (can become a parole, e.g. music when langue is applied); various patches of colour (can become a parole, e.g. a painting when langue is applied).
Parole is an INDIVIDUAL statement/message
Langue is the set of conventional rules created by
SOCIETY (often across a long period of time i.e. the rules evolve and are often
institutionalised e.g. schools teach spelling and grammar)
’Langage’ is the RAW LINGUISTIC MATERIAL
An example of how to think as a structuralist linking SIGNS (semes)
Firstly - Remember: Semiotics is the structural analysis of narratives – looking at how semes (signs) are linked together (in a weave = ‘texere’ (ancient greek for ‘weave’) = TEXT) into a whole picture, piece of music, code, novel, essay etc etc.
Structure: combination (= the relations between bits) + the bits (= the elements/units)
Mummy loves Baby = structure of a family situation
‘Mummy’ ‘loves’ ‘Baby’ = a statement in language of the above
Unit + relation + unit = structural analysis of above
You can do this kind of analysis for pictures, adverts, and much more…that is by picking out the units (or SIGNS) and seeing how they combine with other units of signs to give us a message, meaning, tune and so forth.
You may ask…well OK but how do I know which are the units in any structural analysis? Good point…the answer is (annoyingly)…it all depends n what you are wanting to analyse. ‘Units’ in music are usually ‘tones’ or pitched notes, in painting however they may be the various items depicted e.g. various people painted, or especially in modern painting..the patches of colour and shades as they relate (combine) to each other. In literature units are usually words but can be located at the level of phrases, sentences or even individual letters or grammatical parts e.g. the verbs as against he nouns and so on.
In the days of Napoleon the same wind which would have carried his transports across the Channel might have driven away the blockading fleet. There was always the chance, and it is that chance which has excited and befooled the imaginations of many continental tyrants. Many are the tales that are told. We are assured that novel methods will be adopted, and when we see the originality of malice, the ingenuity of aggression, which our enemy displays, we may certainly prepare ourselves for every kind of novel stratagem and every kind of brutal and treacherous manoeuvre. I think that no idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered and viewed with a searching, but at the same time, I hope, with a steady eye. We must never forget the solid assurances of sea power and those which belong to air power if it can be locally exercised.
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government - every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
· Speech copyright © Winston S Churchill.
Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd,
Qs for manifestos:
You should considering the following features:
1) The framing that constrains the story/directs you (the preferred reading?)
a) Who the story is about – individuals/collectives/the anonymous/processes?
b) Statements of facts ‘It is…’
Statements of beliefs e.g.“it
is generally though that…” “
d) Statements of value e.g. “the committee endorsed the view that…”
e) Statements of audience incorporation – how it involves you – the mode of address. (Althusser, the french neo-marxist calls this ‘interpellation’) e.g. “We all know…”
f) Common-sense claims: “It is traditional to see…” “Any decent parent would have doubts about the MMR vaccine” (these link to (d))
g) emphases – italics, underlining, emboldening to direct you to the message.
h) anti-languages (ref: Michael Halliday’s work) a discourse that opposes the dominant or established discourse or view of the world. Q: how might this be signalled?
i) negative and positive statements (links to (d)) formal (it is not…) or implied: “we think…”
j) Paradigmatic transformations (Barthes/semiotics) semantics: what word could have been used in the place of the one that was? e.g. ‘hate’ or ‘dislike’?
2) The structure of the story: does it have a clear beginning, middle and end or is it a series of themed points of an ‘and this, and that, and that’ variety? Q: how do paragraphs and their lengths help structure a story and direct the reader?
3) Three features that Fairclough (deviser of ‘Critical DA’/his book: Language and Power) discusses re: rhetorical organisation
a) Synonymy - use of words that have similar meanings
b) Hyponymy – nested meanings, where one word provides a nest for a range of other words (meanings) e.g. “the chattering classes” = not ordinary people, not you, intellectuals, over-educated, London-based, rich, have big houses, soft about crime…
c) Antonymy – use of opposites re: contrasts between ‘modern and traditional’, ‘old and new’ were in play.
Q: why focus on these?
4) Negation: “Can’t you stop this?” Q: How does the latter relate to personal autonomy of the person questioned?
5) The Timing:
a) how does the story handle the time (tense)
b) modal features – auxiliaries: e.g. is, may, perhaps, definitely, would… These are often power markers e.g. you MUST (I command you) as well as time markers.
Q: what is the structure of the piece you are analysing in terms of temporal clarity?
Q: how does the use of modal auxiliaries work within the social situation? (discursive and non-discursive co-operating (see work of Malcolm Coulthhard (Birm Univ))
6) Establishing/Loosening Identity and Action
a) identify actives (g did x to h)
b) identify passives (x was done by y)
Preface Labour Manifesto 2005: Tony Blair
“New Labour’s 2005 manifesto applies the unchanging values of our party to the new priorities of the British people. It is a plan to improve the lives of hard-working families and prepare our country for success in a fast-changing world. Our case rests on one idea more than any other – that it is the duty of government to provide opportunity and security for all in a changing world. Every chapter relates back to that goal:
down the barriers that stop people fulfilling their talent, extending
opportunity to every corner of the
'Our case is simple: that
'The vision is one of national renewal, a country with drive, purpose and energy'
'In each area of policy a new and distinctive approach has been mapped out, one that differs from the old left and the Conservative right. This is why new Labour is new'
'New Labour is a party of ideas and ideals but not of outdated ideology. What counts is what works. The objectives are radical. The means will be modern'
' This is our contract with the people'
I believe in
I want a
I want a
I want to renew our country's faith in the ability of its government and
politics to deliver this
I want to renew faith in politics by being honest about the last 18 years. Some things the Conservatives got right. We will not change them. It is where they got things wrong that we will make change. We have no intention or desire to replace one set of dogmas by another.
I want to renew faith in politics through a government that will govern in the interest of the many, the broad majority of people who work hard, play by the rules, pay their dues and feel let down by a political system that gives the breaks to the few, to an elite at the top increasingly out of touch with the rest of us.
And I want, above all, to govern in a way that brings our country together,
that unites our nation in facing the tough and dangerous challenges of the new
economy and changed society in which we must live. I want a
The reason for having created new Labour is to meet the challenges of a
different world. The millennium symbolises a new era opening up for
To accomplish this means more than just a change of government. Our aim is no less than to set British political life on a new course for the future.
People are cynical about politics and distrustful of political
promises. That is hardly surprising. There have been few more gross breaches of
faith than when the Conservatives under Mr Major promised, before the election
of 1992, that they would not raise taxes, but would cut them every year; and
then went on to raise them by the largest amount in peacetime history starting
in the first Budget after the election. The Exchange Rate Mechanism as the
cornerstone of economic policy,
The Conservatives' broken promises taint all politics. That is why we have made it our guiding rule not to promise what we cannot deliver; and to deliver what we promise. What follows is not the politics of a 100 days that dazzles for a time, then fizzles out. It is not the politics of a revolution, but of a fresh start, the patient rebuilding and renewing of this country - renewal that can take root and build over time.
That is one way in which politics in
The purpose of new Labour is to give
We submitted our draft manifesto, new Labour new life for
We are a national party, supported today by people from all walks of life, from the successful businessman or woman to the pensioner on a council estate. Young people have flooded in to join us in what is the fastest growing youth section of any political party in the western world.
We are a broad-based movement for progress and justice. New Labour is the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole. Our values are the same: the equal worth of all, with no one cast aside; fairness and justice within strong communities.
But we have liberated these values from outdated dogma or doctrine, and we have applied these values to the modern world.
Labour Manifesto 1945
Victory is assured for us and our allies in the European war. The war in the East goes the same way. The British Labour Party is firmly resolved that Japanese barbarism shall be defeated just as decisively as Nazi aggression and tyranny. The people will have won both struggles. The gallant men and women in the Fighting Services, in the Merchant Navy, Home Guard and Civil Defence, in the factories and in the bombed areas - they deserve and must be assured a happier future than faced so many of them after the last war. Labour regards their welfare as a sacred trust.
So far as
The people made tremendous efforts to win the last war also. But when they had won it they lacked a lively interest in the social and economic problems of peace, and accepted the election promises of the leaders of the anti-Labour parties at their face value. So the "hard-faced men who had done well out of the war" were able to get the kind of peace that suited themselves. The people lost that peace. And when we say "peace" we mean not only the Treaty, but the social and economic policy which followed the fighting.
In the years that followed, the "hard-faced men" and their political friends kept control of the Government. They controlled the banks, the mines, the big industries, largely the press and the cinema. They controlled the means by which the people got their living. They controlled the ways by which most of the people learned about the world outside. This happened in all the big industrialised countries.
Great economic blizzards swept the world in those years. The great inter-war slumps were not acts of God or of blind forces. They were the sure and certain result of the concentration of too much economic power in the hands of too few men. These men had only learned how to act in the interest of their own bureaucratically-run private monopolies which may be likened to totalitarian oligarchies within our democratic State. They had and they felt no responsibility to the nation.
Similar forces are at work today. The interests have not been able to make the same profits out of this war as they did out of the last. The determined propaganda of the Labour Party, helped by other progressive forces, had its effect in "taking the profit out of war". The 100% Excess Profits Tax, the controls over industry and transport, the fair rationing of food and control of prices - without which the Labour Party would not have remained in the Government - these all helped to win the war. With these measures the country has come nearer to making "fair shares" the national rule than ever before in its history.
But the war in the East is not yet over. There are grand pickings still to be had. A short boom period after the war, when savings, gratuities and post-war credits are there to be spent, can make a profiteer's paradise. But Big Business knows that this will happen only if the people vote into power the party which promises to get rid of the controls and so let the profiteers and racketeers have that freedom for which they are pleading eloquently on every Tory platform and in every Tory newspaper.
They accuse the Labour Party of wishing to impose controls for the sake of control. That is not true, and they know it. What is true is that the anti-controllers and anti-planners desire to sweep away public controls, simply in order to give the profiteering interests and the privileged rich an entirely free hand to plunder the rest of the nation as shamelessly as they did in the nineteen-twenties.
Does freedom for the profiteer mean freedom for the ordinary man and woman, whether they be wage-earners or small business or professional men or housewives? Just think back over the depressions of the 20 years between the wars, when there were precious few public controls of any kind and the Big Interests had things all their own way. Never was so much injury done to so many by so few. Freedom is not an abstract thing. To be real it must be won, it must be worked for.
The Labour Party stands for order as against the chaos which would follow the end of all public control. We stand for order, for positive constructive progress as against the chaos of economic do-as-they-please anarchy.
The Labour Party makes no baseless promises. The future will not be easy. But this time the peace must be won. The Labour Party offers the nation a plan which will win the Peace for the People.
The nation wants food, work and homes. It wants more than that - it wants good food in plenty, useful work for all, and comfortable, labour - saving homes that take full advantage of the resources of modern science and productive industry. It wants a high and rising standard of living, security for all against a rainy day, an educational system that will give every boy and girl a chance to develop the best that is in them.
These are the aims. In themselves they are no more than words. All parties may declare that in principle they agree with them. But the test of a political programme is whether it is sufficiently in earnest about the objectives to adopt the means needed to realise them. It is very easy to set out a list of aims. What matters is whether it is backed up by a genuine workmanlike plan conceived without regard to sectional vested interests and carried through
Point by point these national aims need analysis. Point by point it will be
found that if they are to be turned into realities the nation and its post-war
Governments will be called upon to put the nation above any sectional interest,
above any free enterprise. The problems and pressures of the post-war world
threaten our security and progress as surely as - though less dramatically than
- the Germans threatened them in 1940. We need the spirit of
The Labour Party's programme is a practical expression of that spirit applied to the tasks of peace. It calls for hard work, energy and sound sense.
We must prevent another war, and that means we must have such an
international organisation as will give all nations real security against
future aggression. But
And in stating it we give clear notice that we will not tolerate obstruction of the people's will by the House of Lords.
The Labour Party stands for freedom - for freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the Press. The Labour Party will see to it that we keep and enlarge these freedoms, and that we enjoy again the personal civil liberties we have, of our own free will, sacrificed to win the war. The freedom of the Trade Unions, denied by the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927, must also be restored. But there are certain so-called freedoms that Labour will not tolerate: freedom to exploit other people; freedom to pay poor wages and to push up prices for selfish profit; freedom to deprive the people of the means of living full, happy, healthy lives.
The nation needs a tremendous overhaul, a great programme of modernisation and re-equipment of its homes, its factories and machinery, its schools, its social services.
All parties say so - the Labour Party means it. For the Labour Party is prepared to achieve it by drastic policies and keeping a firm constructive hand on our whole productive machinery; the Labour Party will put the community first and the sectional interests of private business after. Labour will plan from the ground up - giving an appropriate place to constructive enterprise and private endeavour in the national plan, but dealing decisively with those interests which would use high-sounding talk about economic freedom to cloak their determination to put themselves and their wishes above those of the whole nation.
The world wants it and would welcome it. The British people want it, deserve
it and urgently need it. And now, at last, the general election presents us
with the exciting prospect of achieving it. The dying months of a frustrating
1964 can be transformed into the launching platform for the
A New Britain - mobilising the resources of technology under a national plan; harnessing our national wealth in brains, our genius for scientific invention and medical discovery; reversing the decline of the thirteen wasted years; affording a new opportunity to equal, and if possible surpass, the roaring progress of other western powers while Tory Britain has moved sideways, backwards but seldom forward.
The country needs fresh and virile leadership. Labour is ready. Poised to swing its plans into instant operation. Impatient to apply the "new thinking" that will end the chaos and sterility. Here is Labour's Manifesto for the 1964 election, restless with positive remedies for the problems the Tories have criminally neglected.
Here is the case for planning, and the details of how a Labour Cabinet will formulate the national economic plan with both sides of industry operating in partnership with the Government. And here, in this manifesto, is the answer to the Tory gibe that planning could involve a loss of individual liberty. Labour has resolved to humanise the whole administration of the state and to set up the new office of Parliamentary Commissioner with the right and duty to investigate and expose any misuse of government power as it affects the citizen.
Much of the manifesto deals with the vital social services that affect the personal lives and happiness of us all, the welfare of our families and the immediate future of our children. It announces, unequivocally, Labour's decisions on the nagging problems the Tories stupidly (in some cases callously) brushed aside:
The imperative need for a revolution in our education system which will ensure the education of all our citizens in the responsibilities of this scientific age;
The soaring prices in houses, flats and land;
Social security benefits which have fallen below the minimum levels of human need;
The burden of prescription charges in the Health Service.
Labour is concerned, too, with the problems of leisure in the age of automation and here again Labour firmly puts the freedom of the individual first.
"It is not the job of the Government to tell people how leisure should be used", the manifesto declares. But, in a society where facilities are not provided when they are not profitable and where the trend towards monopoly is growing, it is the job of the Government to ensure that leisure facilities are provided and that a reasonable range of choice is maintained.
The pages that follow set out the manifesto in full. Please study it.
This is an age of unparalleled advance in human knowledge and of unrivalled opportunity for good or ill. In ever-widening areas of the world the scientific revolution is now making it physically possible for the first time in human history to provide the whole people with the high living standards, the economic security, and the cultural values which in previous generations have been enjoyed by only a small wealthy minority.
Until 60 years ago when the Labour Party was founded, the ending of economic
privilege, the abolition of poverty in the midst of plenty, and the creation of
real equality of opportunity were inspiring but remote ideals. They have now
become immediate targets of political action.
Since 1951, however, these opportunities of the scientific revolution have been disastrously wasted largely because of the Conservative determination since they took office to end the purposive planning of the post-war Labour Government and replace it with an economic free-for-all.
As a result, successive Conservative Chancellors have been unable to get the economy moving steadily forward. Every jerk of expansion has ground to a full stop as the Government jams on the brake in a desperate attempt to combat inflation and rising prices. This is why, while other countries have made giant strides forward, our progress in the past 12 years has been so fitful. So sharp has the contrast become that only 18 months ago a Tory Government, driven by economic failure, lost its nerve and prepared to accept humiliating terms for entry into the European Common Market in the vain hope that closer contact with a dynamic Europe would give a new boost to our wilting economy. Since the French veto our affairs have not improved.
Once again an election year boom is heading for a post-election "stop" -just as happened after the 1959 and 1955 general elections. Indeed, by hanging on to power to the last possible moment in the hope of gaining some temporary electoral advantage, the Government has made the task of its successor immeasurably' more difficult.
This chapter in our affairs must be brought to a close. Tinkering with policies that have clearly failed and half-hearted conversion to principles previously rejected will not suffice. Only a major change of attitude to the scientific revolution, including an acceptance of the need for purposive planning, will enable us to mobilise the new resources technology is creating and harness them to human needs. Only a major change in economic and fiscal policy can break the defeatist stop-go cycle and prevent another bout of stagnant production, rising unemployment and declining national strength.
Only with a new Government, with a sense of national purpose, can we start
to create a dynamic, just and go-ahead