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2. Roland Barthes

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About this Lecture


In this module, we will look at the semiotics thinker Roland Barthes. In particular, we will focus on: (i) how Roland Barthes, a French philosopher, literary critic, and semiotician, expanded on Ferdinand de Saussure's teachings to analyse popular culture using semiotics; (ii) how Barthes introduced the concept that a signifier (word or image) plus a signified (mental concept) equals a sign, which is interpreted differently by individuals, emphasising audience interpretation; (iii) how Barthes focused on how language creates meaning in various forms of communication like books, advertising, and film; (iv) how Barthes argued that signs and symbols derive meaning from cultural usage, not inherent meanings, and that language is a system of signs with hidden meanings; and (v) how Barthes' work profoundly influenced media studies, with analyses of narrative structure, fashion's semiotics, and advertising's use of signs and symbols, staying relevant in today's information-rich environment.


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 - Roland Barthes [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jones, C. "Semiotics – Roland Barthes." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Aug 2023,