ALL KEY TERMS AND MEANINGS

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Codes: meaning systems consisting of signs. Signs are anything that has the potential togenerate
meaning, to signify. When a sign has generated meaning, it is said to have
achieved signification. This is fundamental to the semiotic approach to the study of
communication.
Communication: a process through which meanings are exchanged.
Context: the situation within which communication takes place.
Convergence: the bringing together of previously distinct industries
Culture: a particular way of life which expresses certain meanings and values.
Identity: the sense we have of ourselves, which we then `represent' `elsewhere': a person's
social meaning.
Discourse: A type of language used in a particular context or by a particular group.
Ideology: concerned with how we as individuals understand the world in which we live.'
Narrative: refers to the ways in which meanings are structured as stories.
Power: control and influence over other people and their actions.
Representation: the construction in any medium (especially the mass media) of aspects of
`reality' such as people, places, objects, events, cultural identities and other abstract
concepts. Such representations may be in speech or writing as well as still or moving
pictures.
Technoculture: It refers to the interactions between, and politics of, technology and culture.
Value: the worth, importance, or usefulness of something to somebody.
Theoretical Approaches
Market Liberalism
Market Liberalism: Market Liberalism is broadly supportive of `the way things are' and
tends to assert not only the economic benefits of capitalism but also its social, cultural and
political benefits. It sees freedoms best provided for and preserved by `markets' (i.e. free
trade).
Capitalism: an economic system in which people are driven to produce goods and services
for a profit.
The free market: essentially the freedom to `trade'. The market is regulated by the laws of
supply and demand whilst competition between providers ensures that price and quality are
controlled.
Laws of supply and demand: the so-called `natural' relationship between what people
want and need and what is provided to meet these `requirements'.
`Laissez faire capitalism': laissez faire means `leave it alone', so in this form of capitalism
the market is allowed to operate in accordance with its internal laws (e.g. supply and
demand), without any interference whatsoever.
Mixed economy: an economy that has both public and private industries
Consumerism: the equation of personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of
material possessions. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting
with Thorstein Veblen or, more recently, by a movement called Enoughism.
Private enterprise: companies owned by individuals and groups and not the state.
Pluralism is used, often in different ways, across a wide range of topics to denote a
diversity of views, and stands in opposition to one single approach or method of
interpretation.
Marxism
Marxism: a political-economic theory that presents a materialist conception of history, a
non-capitalist vision of capitalism and other types of society, and a non-religious view of
human liberation. At its core, Marxism holds a critical analysis of capitalism and a theory of

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Alienation: the state of disillusionment and frustration felt by workers working in industrial
processes which offer work that is not fulfilling in itself.
Base/superstructure model: a way of understanding Marx's view of the relationship
between the economy (the base) and the social/cultural sphere such as family, politics and
law (the superstructure). It's rather like a house in which the foundations (the base) are
invisible, but without them the rest of the house (the superstructure) would collapse.…read more

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Ideology (2): a system of representation.
Ideological State Apparatuses: in Althusser's view, our values, desires and preferences
are inculcated in us by ideological practice, the sphere which has the defining property of
constituting individuals as subjects. Ideological practice consists of an assortment of
institutions called Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs), which include the family, the media,
religious organisations and, most importantly, the education system, as well as the received
ideas they propagate.…read more

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Polysemy: the capacity for a sign (e.g. a word, phrase, etc.) or signs to have multiple
meanings (sememes), i.e., a large semantic field. This is a pivotal concept within social
sciences, such as media studies and linguistics.
Semiotics: the study of signs in their contexts.
Post-Structuralism
Post-structuralism: the intellectual developments of certain continental philosophers,
sociologists and critical theorists who wrote within the tendencies of twentieth-century
French philosophy.…read more

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Hyperreality is a means to characterise the way
consciousness defines what is actually "real" in a world where a multitude of media can
radically shape and filter the original event or experience being depicted. For example, an
on-line computer gamer begins to live in the non-existent world of the game, and even
though the game world is not an accurate depiction of reality, for the gamer, the reality of
"the real world" becomes something non-existent.
Intertexuality: the shaping of a text's meanings by another text.…read more

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Diaspora (in Greek, ­ "a scattering [of seeds]"): the movement of any population
sharing common ethnic identity who were either forced to leave or voluntarily left their
settled territory, and became residents in areas often far remote from the former.
Essentialism: in philosophy, essentialism is the view that, for any specific kind of entity,
there is a set of characteristics or properties all of which any entity of that kind must
possess.…read more

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Orientalism: the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers,
designers and artists. An "Orientalist" may be a person engaged in these activities, but it is
also the traditional term for any scholar of Oriental studies.…read more

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Claude Lévi-Strauss's
image--or linked in more complicated relationships, like a molecule in a compound. For
example, the myths of Adonis and Osiris share several elements, leading some scholars to
conclude that they share a source, i.e., images passed down in cultures or from one to another,
being ascribed new interpretations of the action depicted as well as new names in
various readings of icons.
Narrative codes: Barthes defines five codes that define a network that form a space of
meaning that the text runs through.…read more

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