Myth

Myth in media analysis refers to how words and images are systematically used to communicate cultural and political meanings, in texts such as advertisements, magazines, films, or TV programs. Studying myth uses the methodology of semiotics (Bignell 2002), which proposes that our perception and understanding of reality is constructed by words and other signs, hence my reference to media products as “texts.” Semiotics originates mainly in the writings of Ferdinand de Saussure (1915/1974) and Charles Peirce (1958), for whom linguistics was the foundation for the science of how signs mean. For example, the linguistic sign “men” denotes a group of people distinct from “women.” What makes the sign “woman” meaningful is the culturally contingent distinction between “man” and “woman” that might attribute different legal or religious status, or different rules of behavior, for example, to each gender. Thought and experience, indeed our very sense of our own identity, are formed …

This essay may be found on page 123 of the printed volume.

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