Roland Barthes Theories
Roland Barthes presented the postmodernist tradition with many useful
specie of nomenclature by which to describe what is occuring semioticly
within discourse. The following is a list of his theories intermixed with
other poeples theories that may be helpful in the understanding of the
more difficult concepts.
Signified: Is what the signifier refers to. (See signifier). There are
two types of signifieds:
connotative: points to the signified but has a deeper meaning. An example
provided by Barthes can be found in S/Z on page 62. "Tree" = luxuriant
green, shady, etc...
denotative: What the signified actually is, quite like a definition, but
in brain language.
Skidding: When meaning moves due to a signifier calling on multiple signifieds.
Hermenuetics: Differs from exegesis in that it is less "practical." It
is the text that postpones and even breaks with itself to shift meaning
Exegesis: Interpretation of content only. that searches for meaning connotatively.
(from the Pleasure of the Text) is discourse that stabilizes; it meets
the expectations of the reader.
Writerly text: is a text that discomforts; it creates a subject position
for the reader that is outside of the mores or cultural base of the reader.
Starred text: (from S/Z) is where the text "breaks;" where a deeper level
of meaning can be followed. The stars occur at these locations, which are
Language exists on two axes.
symbol: stands in place of an object; flags, the crucifix, bathroom door
index: "points" to something. It is an indicator. i.e. words like "big"
and arrows etc.
icon: a representation of an object that produces a mental image of the
object represented. For example, a picture of a tree evokes the same mental
image regardless of language. The picture of a tree conjures up "tree"
in the brain.