Introducing Social Semiotics

By Theo Van Leeuwen | Go to book overview

Recommended reading

Arnheim, R. (1974) Art and Visual Perception, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press

Arnheim, R. (1982) The Power of the Center, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press

Arnheim's work has been a key influence on social semiotic theories of visual communication. I draw in particular on his ideas about framing, colour and composition. Although he writes from a psychological perspective, he emphasizes the communicative functions of these aspects of visual communication throughout.

Barthes, R. (1973) Mythologies, London, Paladin

Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music, Text, London, Fontana

Barthes, R. (1983) The Fashion System, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press

Roland Barthes was the first truly multimodal and social semiotician, despite the fact that he saw all non-linguistic semiotic modes as dependent on language and worked within a structuralist paradigm. In this book, I draw especially on his concepts of 'myth' and 'connotation', his ideas on the relations between image and text, and his masterful account of the 'fashion system'.

Eggins, S. (1994) An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics, London, Frances Pinter

A very clear account of some key ideas from the work of Halliday and Martin.

Fairclough, N. (1992) Discourse and Social Change, Cambridge, Polity

Fairclough, N. (2000) New Labour, New Language, London, Routledge

Fairclough's work has been another key influence on this book, particularly his approach to discourse, genre, style and social practice. Fairclough (1992) also contains a lucid account of Foucault's theory of discourse and its importance for a social theory of discourse, hence also for social semiotics.

Foucault, M. (1971) 'Orders of Discourse', Social Science Information 10(2): 7-30, also in Shapiro, M., ed. (1982) Language and Politics, Oxford, Blackwell

Foucault, M. (1977) The Archeology of Knowledge, London, Tavistock

Foucault's theory of 'discourse', and his emphasis on discourse history, have strongly influenced the account of discourse presented in this book.

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