Module Identifier MC30820  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Daniel G J Chandler  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Other   20 hours Lectures/Workshops  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Assigment 1 - 2500 words For information on due dates for submission of assessed work, please refer to the departmental web pages at
Semester Assessment Assigment 2 - 2500 words  50%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
to understand key semiotic concepts

to understand basic principles of semiotic textual analysis

to apply semiotic approaches to the analysis of mass media texts

to asses the usefulness and limitations of such approaches

Brief description

Semiotics has an unenviable reputation for being dense with jargon and difficult to understand. In this module students are offered a practicalintroduction to the application of semiotics to the study of the mass media and are also assisted in interpreting media theorists who have adopted semiotic approaches. They are encouraged to adopt a critical approach to semiotic theories and applications. 'Semiotics for Beginners', which is part of this module, is a very popular hypertext book on the World-Wide Web. We consider in particular the theme of visual representation. For full details see the Module Website at


The lectures are based on the following:

Signifier and Signified
Structural Analysis
Beyond the Literal
Practical Textual Analysis (1)
Photography and Film
Practical Textual Analysis (2)
Intertextuality and Reflexivity
Representation and the Construction of Reality
Reviewing Semiotics

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Barthes, Roland (1987[1957]) Mythologies New York: Hill & Wang
Barthes, Roland (1977) Image-Music-Text London: Fontana
**Bignell, Jonathan (1997) Media Semiotics: An Introduction Manchester: Manchester University Press
**Chandler, Daniel (2002) Semiotics: The Basics London: Routledge
**Cook, Guy (1992) The Discourse of Advertising London: Routledge
Danesi, Marcel (2002) Understanding Media Semiotics London: Arnold
**Fairclough, Norman (1995) Media Discourse London: Arnold
Hodge, Robert & Gunther Kress (1988) Social Semiotics Cambridge: Polity
Jensen, Klaus Bruhn (1995) The Social Semiotics of Mass Communication London: Sage
Kress, Gunther & Theo van Leeuwen (1996) Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design London: Routledge
Langholz Leymore, Varda (1975) Hidden Myth: Structure and Symbolism in Advertising New York: Basic Books
Metz, Christian (1974) Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema (trans. Michael Taylor) New York: Oxford University Press
Myers, Greg (1999) Ad Worlds: Brands, Media, Audiences London: Arnold
**Thwaites, Tony, Lloyd Davis & Warwick Mules (1994) Tools for Cultural Studies: An Introduction South Melbourne: Macmillan
Williamson, Judith (1978) Decoding Advertisements London: Marion Boyars

Web Page/Sites
** Essential Reading
Module website
** Recommended Text
Semiotics for Beginners
**Worth, Sol (1981) 'Studying Visual Communication' [www document]
HERON document Bignell: 'Advertisements'
HERON document Leiss, Kline & Jhally: 'Two Approaches to the Study of Advertisements'


This module is at CQFW Level 6