Semiotics of Popular Culture

Kassel: University of Kassel Press (2015)
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Abstract

Cultural studies constitutes one of the most multi-perspectival research fields. Amidst a polyvocal theoretical landscape that spans different disciplines semiotics is of foundational value. In an attempt to effectively address the conceptual richness of the semiotic discipline, a wide roster of perspectives is evoked in this book against the background of a diverse set of cultural phenomena, including structuralist and post-structuralist semiotics, semiotically informed psychoanalysis, cultural semiotics, film semiotics, sociosemiotics, but also, to a lesser extent, music semiotics and more niche, but certainly promising perspectives, such as postmodern semiotics, ethnosemiotics, phenomenological semiotics and rhetorical semiotics. The recruitment of semiotic frameworks and concepts is enacted against the background of advances in cultural studies (thus reinstating the dialogue with a discipline that took form by drawing on semiotics in the first place) and the various research streams that have become consolidated within the wider cultural studies territory, such as memory studies, celebrity studies, death studies, cultural geography, visual studies. At the same time, the offered readings engage dialogically with Consumer Culture Theory. As regards the diversity of cultural phenomena that constitute the empirical substratum of the offered analyses, music, cinema, new media, live-shows, branding, advertising and literature constitute the focal areas of concern. Under the aegis of a permeating textuality paradigm, the ubiquitously applicable tools of multimodal analysis, and time-hallowed qualitative research methods facilitated by advances in videography and archival research, the featured semiotic readings aim at scrutinizing the wider social implications and communicative functions of popular cultural artefacts, spectacles, processes and places, such as Lady Gaga’s monstrosity, Dio’s memorial, experiential consumption events, the ice-bucket challenge video meme.

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George Rossolatos
Universität Gesamthochschule Kassel

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