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3. Definitions and Applications

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About this Lecture


In this module, we will look at some definitions and applications in the field of semiotics. In particular, we will focus on: (i) how signs are words, images, sounds, etc., invested with meaning, interpreted differently by audiences based on culture, education and values; (ii) how signification is the process of attaching meaning to signs, influenced by social, cultural, and historical contexts; (iii) how denotation is the literal meaning of a sign, while connotation refers to additional associations shaped by social and cultural situations; (iv) how myths are cultural narratives supporting values and beliefs, often taken for granted as truths; and (v) how these terms are applied in fields like advertising (using signs, connotations to sell products), media studies (analysing how media texts create meaning), linguistics (studying language's cultural reflections), and cultural studies (examining cultural events' impact using semiotics).


In this lecture, Carl Jones (University of Westminster) will discuss semiotics. In the first module, we look at how semiotics is connected to media studies. After this, we will look at the semiotics thinker Roland Barthes. Then, we will look at some definitions and applications in the field of semiotics. In the fourth module, we look at some of the key ideas in semiotics. Then, we look at how we carry out semiotic analysis in media studies. Finally, we look at critiques of Barthes, other semiotics thinkers, and some new approaches.


Carl Jones is senior lecturer in media and communication at the University of Westminster. He specialises in advertising and semiotics in media studies. With this in mind, he has published widely including ‘Racism and classism in Mexican advertising’ (2019) and ‘Decoding myth-making through Semiotics in-order to Decolonize advertising (2023). He was also guest editor for Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture: Advertising for the Human Good (2020).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jones, C. (2023, August 17). Semiotics - Definitions and Applications [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jones, C. "Semiotics – Definitions and Applications." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Aug 2023,