Compile a photographic essay on the visual semiotics of cafe culture in Aberystwyth or your own home town.
For general guidance about what is expected in your essays for this module,
Please remember to avoid footnotes and to include an
alphabetical list of 'References' which have been cited in the text
(not a Bibliography of anything you have read for the essay). This list should include
author's names, date, book titles (in italics), place of publication and publisher.
Within the text always cite author's surname, date and page number. Double-space your
text and number your pages. For more detailed notes on writing essays in this
Advice for this particular assignment:
The cafes in Aber reflect (or perhaps contribute) to constructing social
stratification. Each individual cafe-goer seems to draw on a relatively limited repertoire of cafes (and in some ways
it is the significant absences of certain cafes from an individual's repertoire that is most telling). You are expected to demonstrate your
understanding of relevant semiotic concepts, in particular signifier, signified,
syntagms, paradigms, codes and the commutation test. For instance, you can apply the commutation test
to determine which visual features of one cafe would never be found in another one, and then you can discuss why this might be
so. Map out a schema that seeks to account for key visual features in all of the cafes and then illustrate and discuss the points of divergence.
This essay needs substantial illustration, particularly with photographs (ideally, some of these should be your own);
essays with minimal illustration will lose marks for this.
Do not take photographs in commercial premises without asking permission first.
Note that if you take photographs featuring people's faces that you
must obtain permission first: use a
consent form explaining that you are doing this for educational and research purposes only.
Anyone featured will need to sign such a form granting you permission to use such photographs for these purposes only; pixelate out faces
of bystanders where you have no such form. Any consent forms used must form part of your submission.
In particular, try to group related images together for comparison and contract in order to assist your discussion.
Although this is effectively 'a photographic essay'
the same criteria will be employed as for other written assignments, so do not neglect such essential features as the
discussion of relevant academic sources. The illustrations should be deployed as part of a coherent argument.
Remember to include a list labelled either Figures or Image sources after your
list of References.
Only some of the books on the suggested reading are explicitly semiotic and you may need to recast their
insights within a semiotic framework.
Some suggested reading
- Banks, Marcus (2001)
Visual Methods in Social Research. London: Sage
- Barnard, Malcolm (2005)
Graphic Design as Communication. London: Routledge
- Beasley, Ron & Marcel Danesi (2002)
Persuasive Signs: The Semiotics of Advertising. New York: Mouton de Gruyter
- Berger, Arthur Asa (1989)
Seeing is Believing: An Introduction to Visual Communication. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield
- Berger, Arthur Asa (1999)
Signs in Contemporary Culture: An Introduction to Semiotics. Salen, WI: Sheffield
- Bignell, Jonathan (1997)
Media Semiotics: An Introduction.
Manchester: Manchester University Press [caution - labels photographic media as primarily iconic rather than primarily indexical]
- Chandler, Daniel (2007)
Semiotics: The Basics (2nd Edn.). London: Routledge.
- Chandler, Daniel and Rod Munday (2011)
Dictionary of Media and Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Chaplin, Elizabeth (1994)
Sociology and Visual Representation. London: Routledge
- Cook, Guy (1999)
The Discourse of Advertising (2nd Edn.). London: Routledge
- Crow, David (2003)
Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics. Crans-près-Céligny, Switzerland: AVA
- Danesi, Marcel (1994)
Messages and Meanings: An Introduction to Semiotics. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press
[caution - labels photographic media as primarily iconic rather than primarily indexical]
- Dyer, Gillian (1982)
Advertising as Communication. London:
Routledge [caution - labels photographic media as primarily iconic rather than primarily indexical]
- Emmison, Michael & Philip Smith (2002)
Researching the Visual: Images, Objects, Contexts and Interactions in Social and Cultural Inquiry
(Introducing Qualitative Methods). London: Sage
- Fox, Roy F. (Ed) (1994)
Images in Language, Media and Mind. Urbana, IL: NCTE
- Johansen, Jorgen Dines & Svend Erik Larsen (2002)
Signs in Use: An Introduction to Semiotics (trans. Dinda L Gorl?e & John Irons). London: Routledge
- Kress, Gunther & Theo van Leeuwen (2006)
Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (2nd Edn.). London: Routledge
- Lester, Paul Martin (2000)
Visual Communication: Images with Messages. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
- Messaris, Paul (1994)
Visual 'Literacy': Image, Mind, and Reality. Boulder, CO: Westview Press
- Messaris, Paul (1997)
Visual Persuasion: The Role of Images in Advertising. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
- Pink, Sarah (2006)
Doing Visual Ethnography (2nd edn). London: Sage
- Prosser, Jon (Ed) (1998)
Image-Based Research: A Sourcebook for Qualitative Researchers. London: Routledge
- Rose, Gillian (2011)
Visual Methodologies (3rd edn). London: Sage
- Schirato, Tony & Jen Webb (2004)
Understanding the Visual. London: Sage
- Schroeder, Jonathan E. (2002)
Visual Consumption (Routledge Interpretive Marketing Research). London: Routledge
- Scott, Linda M & Rajeev Batra (Eds) (2003)
Persuasive Imagery: A Consumer Response Perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum
- Sharpe, Deborah T. (1975)
The Psychology of Color and Design. Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams
- van Leeuwen, Theo & Carey Jewitt (Eds.) (2001)
Handbook of Visual Analysis. London: Sage
- Vestergaard, Torben & Kim Schroder (1985)
The Language of Advertising. Oxford: Basil Blackwell
- Worth, Sol (1981)
Studying Visual Communication [WWW document] URL
- Zettl, Herbert (1990)
Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics (2nd Edn). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Note: Treat with extreme caution sources labelled with this symbol!