1. studies signs relating to natural languages as well as other cultural sign systems;[The book's] approach -- asserts that semiotic systems contain, besides denotative codes, socially constructed values or ideologies which operate as connotative codes inseparable from denotation. (4)
Two separate approaches to urban semiotics:
1. purely semiotic one and focuses on spatial systems [disregarding social context];Critique of Kevin Lynch and cognitive geography
Lynch['s environmental image of city] ignored the connotaive level,re-evaluating Lynch's contributions: . . .
-- has uncovered some important means by which inhabitants of the city organize their behavior. Chief among these is the realization that conceptual stimuli in the environment play a more fundamental role than mere formal perscption, so that physical forms are assigned a certain significations which then aid in directing behavior. Urban structures act as stimuli because they have become symbols and not because they support behavior by facilitating movement. Thus we can say that the image of the city is a conceptual rather than perceptual one.Urban/Socio-Semiotics --different kinds
1. architectual semiotics -- weaknesses: monolithic view of city inhabitants by ignoring the social stratification of signification and by clustering together finance capitalists, real estate developers, the working class, and teenage graffiti sprayers as the same group of inhabitants . . .
2. The formal semiotic approach -- it limits analysis to the discovery of generative grammars underlying spatial structures. Urban semiotics then becomes the study of spatial structures derived from internalized grammars of patterns and designs which become externalized through semiosis.
3. [The editors' perspective] -- urban space is not a text but a "pseudo-text," because it is produced by non-semiotic processes as well as semiotic ones and because there is not always a sender in the historically conditioned built environment. A socio-semiotic analysis of an urban sign system or "pseudo-text" would then procede as follows.
The City and the sign. NY: Columbia UP, 1986
- Gottdiener, M. & A. Ph. Lagopoulos. "Introduction." pp. 1-24.
- Greimas, A. J. "For a Topological Semiotics." Gottdiener, M. & A. Ph. Lagopoulos ed. : 25-54.
- Gottdiener, M. "Recapturing the Center: A Semiotic Analysis of Shopping Malls." pp. 288-303.