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From Naturalisation to Sacralisation: Changing Paradigms for Analysing Visual Advertising
Unformatted Document Text:  11 11 Part 5: Pragmatics and Frames We have examined how British advertising analysis developed from theories of ideology. Indeed until recently it has revolved around a logic of domination /resistance. At first, advertising was seen as part of a system of domination but some argued in favour of a possible counter-hegemony or freedom to read the multiple meanings in a non-dominant manner. Anne Freadman (2000) in her fine analysis of the semiotic inadequacy of the cultural studies approach, explains how the theory of Bignell and others is based on a simplistic assumption that texts and contexts are somehow separate. 5 “Culture is reduced to a set of texts open to demystification” The more recent cultural studies approach changes this by emphasising reading context as being primary. Somehow text is assimilated to culture while the reading context still is associated with the status of a social world. Cultural studies applies “different kinds of reading” to study them. ‘The arbitrary nature of the sign opposes sign to world in order to guarantee the “constructedness” of meaning” ; then in an equal and opposite move, cultural studies discovers the real world –albeit a social and not a “natural” world- not in the sign ’ (Freadman 2000) Both of these approaches ignored the pragmatic dimension, of how signs work in practice, in people’s minds. Freadman points out that much of this cultural studies work could have benefited from work by linguists and philosophers of language inspired by the speech act theory of Austin and the linguistic meditations of the philosopher, Wittgenstein. The key notion here would be to understand the performative function of advertisements. Some such work has been carried out by linguists. Vestergaard, and Schroder (1985):argued that advertising has a normalising function which is achieved by the harmonisation of the semantic content ( the meaning of the words ) of the advertisement with the context. Contexts vary but indicate the situation where the text is placed.. The article next to the ad, the magazine, the place of where it is read and indeed the culture in which it is read. are all contexts of reading Pateman (1983) had already critiqued Williamson arguing that advertisements are rarely identified retrospectively but rather they are identified in a context where their meaning has been anticipated. We will see below that Messaris will argue that much of the pleasure of advertising is in how it breaks our expectations of the meaing. . Myers, also develops an approach based on pragmatics. He looks at how advertising is largely self-referential. Ads are not only is shaped by their contexts but also help create their own context. Ads are polysemic and can be read differently by different audiences, but can also try to solicit an audience by self-reference and irony. Advertising associates meanings with brands and their principal function is to create the context of the brand, what Myers (1998)calls advertising worlds. Myers is a linguist and his analysis of ads is based on understanding the way people use language to produce multiple meanings. He rejects the Marxist assumption that advertising is exploitative commodity capitalism. He, from a post-modern perspective, rather, sees them as a source of pleasure for creative meaning production. 5 In fact, this is all baseed on anominaalist fallacy about the aebitrary nature of the sign. See her article.

Authors: Doyle, Waddick.
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11
11
Part 5: Pragmatics and Frames
We have examined how British advertising analysis developed from theories of ideology.
Indeed until recently it has revolved around a logic of domination /resistance. At first,
advertising was seen as part of a system of domination but some argued in favour of a
possible counter-hegemony or freedom to read the multiple meanings in a non-dominant
manner.

Anne Freadman (2000) in her fine analysis of the semiotic inadequacy of the cultural studies
approach, explains how the theory of Bignell and others is based on a simplistic assumption
that texts and contexts are somehow separate.
5
Culture is reduced to a set of texts open to
demystification” The more recent cultural studies approach changes this by emphasising
reading context as being primary. Somehow text is assimilated to culture while the reading
context still is associated with the status of a social world. Cultural studies applies “different
kinds of reading” to study them.
The arbitrary nature of the sign opposes sign to world in order to guarantee the
“constructedness” of meaning” ; then in an equal and opposite move, cultural studies
discovers the real world –albeit a social and not a “natural” world- not in the sign ’
(
Freadman 2000)

Both of these approaches ignored the pragmatic dimension, of how signs work in practice, in
people’s minds. Freadman points out that much of this cultural studies work could have
benefited from work by linguists and philosophers of language inspired by the speech act
theory of Austin and the linguistic meditations of the philosopher, Wittgenstein. The key
notion here would be to understand the performative function of advertisements.
Some such work has been carried out by linguists. Vestergaard, and Schroder (1985):argued
that advertising has a normalising function which is achieved by the harmonisation of the
semantic content ( the meaning of the words ) of the advertisement with the context. Contexts
vary but indicate the situation where the text is placed.. The article next to the ad, the
magazine, the place of where it is read and indeed the culture in which it is read. are all
contexts of reading Pateman (1983) had already critiqued Williamson arguing that
advertisements are rarely identified retrospectively but rather they are identified in a context
where their meaning has been anticipated. We will see below that Messaris will argue that
much of the pleasure of advertising is in how it breaks our expectations of the meaing.

. Myers, also develops an approach based on pragmatics. He looks at how advertising is
largely self-referential. Ads are not only is shaped by their contexts but also help create their
own context. Ads are polysemic and can be read differently by different audiences, but can
also try to solicit an audience by self-reference and irony. Advertising associates meanings
with brands and their principal function is to create the context of the brand, what Myers
(1998)calls advertising worlds. Myers is a linguist and his analysis of ads is based on
understanding the way people use language to produce multiple meanings. He rejects the
Marxist assumption that advertising is exploitative commodity capitalism. He, from a post-
modern perspective, rather, sees them as a source of pleasure for creative meaning production.
5
In fact, this is all baseed on anominaalist fallacy about the aebitrary
nature of the sign. See her article.


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