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From Naturalisation to Sacralisation: Changing Paradigms for Analysing Visual Advertising
Unformatted Document Text:  9 9 By the 1980’s the important question became as to how free the reader was to associate one thing and another. Williamson (1978:169) had argued that “ the function of symbols is ideological, -, to deprive us of knowledge and create a mystification about history, nature and society---“. In the 1980’s, this became less clear as scholars began to ask the question of reception. Justin Lewis posed the question of what evidence there was that people actually read the meanings suggested by ideological critique. Pateman ( 1983:187) provided an interesting critique of Williamson saying that her emphasis on the semiotic aspects of communication had excluded the pragmatic dimension. He argued that advertising is read as part of a routine where consumers of advertising have expectations about the intentions of advertisers and indeed of the genre of advertising. Hence he argued the meaning of advertising is anticipated by the audience because of what he calls its activity type ( following Levinson) but which we could term its generic characteristics. Pateman’s critiques were within the field of linguistics and foregrounded much of the work developed in the 1990’s on the pragmatic and generic dimension of advertising which we will deal with in section 5.. In the 1980’s however, we saw the rise of the cultural studies movement which tried to synthesise ideological critique and reception theory. Stuart Hall (1980) conceived of decoding as a margin of manoeuvre for readers. Hall did not argue for an absolute freedom to interpret the text. He thought there was a limited terrain where readers could resist ideologies and produce so-called “preferred meanings”. Hall did not directly touch on advertising but dealt with the problem of media reception in general. To do so, he drew on a peculiarly English reading of Gramsci and his notion of hegemony, the establishment of consensus for a social order through maintaining control of such concepts as common sense. Certain readings of texts would encourage hegemony and others would be counter-hegemonic, building an opposing consensus. According to Hall, saudiences/readers do not simply absorb an ad and accept the meaning proffered by the dominant ideology. Rather, some can read in the oppositional manner. They take in some of the ideological meaning, but they also add some other elements into the (negotiation). Depending on their cultural and class backgrounds, some people might accept most of the media text's message, while others reject it almost entirely. Hall proposed a model of encoding-decoding of media texts. The meaning of the text, which is located somewhere between its producer and the reader, is framed by the producer in a certain way, and the reader decodes the text's message slightly differently, according to his/her personal background, and the various different cultural, social situations and frames of interpretation. A more extreme view of decoding the media world is that of John Fiske (1986, 1987,1988) who argues for a type of radical semiotic democracy and denied the notion of a dominant ideology. At times Fiske runs the risk of running into a type of excessive liberal pluralism. He suggest abandoning the term ‘audience’ altogether “Consequently it sees the audience as relatively powerless and undiscriminating, at the hands of the barons of the industry. It see the viewers as “cultural dopes” (Fiske 1987:17). Fiske’s critique is based on, different audiences who could be sub-cultures or political groups or other things read that media texts the idea in many different ways. All of these groups would construct their own meanings from texts which were “polysemic”. Not surprisingly Fiske never put his attention to advertising. Much of what he saw as pluralism could be understood as targeting. Texts may be polysemic but at least one media baron, Silvio Berlusconi was very clear about their purpose, ""The purpose of commercial television is to increase the sale of advertised

Authors: Doyle, Waddick.
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By the 1980’s the important question became as to how free the reader was to associate one
thing and another. Williamson (1978:169) had argued that “ the function of symbols is
ideological, -, to deprive us of knowledge and create a mystification about history, nature and
society---“.

In the 1980’s, this became less clear as scholars began to ask the question of reception. Justin
Lewis posed the question of what evidence there was that people actually read the meanings
suggested by ideological critique. Pateman ( 1983:187) provided an interesting critique of
Williamson saying that her emphasis on the semiotic aspects of communication had excluded
the pragmatic dimension. He argued that advertising is read as part of a routine where
consumers of advertising have expectations about the intentions of advertisers and indeed of
the genre of advertising. Hence he argued the meaning of advertising is anticipated by the
audience because of what he calls its activity type ( following Levinson) but which we could
term its generic characteristics. Pateman’s critiques were within the field of linguistics and
foregrounded much of the work developed in the 1990’s on the pragmatic and generic
dimension of advertising which we will deal with in section 5..
In the 1980’s however, we saw the rise of the cultural studies movement which tried to
synthesise ideological critique and reception theory. Stuart Hall (1980) conceived of decoding
as a margin of manoeuvre for readers. Hall did not argue for an absolute freedom to interpret
the text. He thought there was a limited terrain where readers could resist ideologies and
produce so-called “preferred meanings”. Hall did not directly touch on advertising but dealt
with the problem of media reception in general. To do so, he drew on a peculiarly English
reading of Gramsci and his notion of hegemony, the establishment of consensus for a social
order through maintaining control of such concepts as common sense. Certain readings of
texts would encourage hegemony and others would be counter-hegemonic, building an
opposing consensus.

According to Hall, saudiences/readers do not simply absorb an ad and accept the meaning
proffered by the dominant ideology. Rather, some can read in the oppositional manner. They
take in some of the ideological meaning, but they also add some other elements into the
(negotiation). Depending on their cultural and class backgrounds, some people might accept
most of the media text's message, while others reject it almost entirely. Hall proposed a
model of encoding-decoding of media texts. The meaning of the text, which is located
somewhere between its producer and the reader, is framed by the producer in a certain way,
and the reader decodes the text's message slightly differently, according to his/her personal
background, and the various different cultural, social situations and frames of interpretation.
A more extreme view of decoding the media world is that of John Fiske (1986, 1987,1988)
who argues for a type of radical semiotic democracy and denied the notion of a dominant
ideology. At times Fiske runs the risk of running into a type of excessive liberal pluralism.
He suggest abandoning the term ‘audience’ altogether “Consequently it sees the audience as
relatively powerless and undiscriminating, at the hands of the barons of the industry. It see
the viewers as “cultural dopes”
(Fiske 1987:17). Fiske’s critique is based on, different
audiences who could be sub-cultures or political groups or other things read that media texts
the idea in many different ways. All of these groups would construct their own meanings
from texts which were “polysemic”. Not surprisingly Fiske never put his attention to
advertising. Much of what he saw as pluralism could be understood as targeting. Texts may
be polysemic but at least one media baron, Silvio Berlusconi was very clear about their
purpose, ""The purpose of commercial television is to increase the sale of advertised


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