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Volume 6, Number 1
(Fall 2007)

This Special Issue is devoted to ideas about Semiotics and Popular Culture and is edited by British semiotician, Paul Cobley of the London Metropolitan University. He is well-known for his work in this area, having written and presented widely throughout Europe and North America. He has compiled an outstanding list of contributors for this issue.

Seeing popular culture through the lens of semiotic inquiry offers a different view of the contemporary world. Cobley writes:

Semiotics, as the study of sign systems, especially in areas where sign systems are not commonly thought to be in operation, fits perfectly with the analysis of the popular. Semiotics reveals hidden depths. It demonstrates the complex and nuanced nature of quotidian practices. In an age when the high culture/low culture divide can no longer be taken for granted, semiotics has demonstrated that the popular is not so "low" after all: It is sophisticated and, sometimes, even thoroughly systematic. Likewise, elite culture has been exposed under semiotics’ scrutiny as not so "high" as it thought it was: Elite culture shares the same kind of systematised tendencies as popular culture and, being the preserve of the elite, it is frequently complicit with existing power structures and often downright reactionary. Given semiotics’ persuasiveness regarding such key features of contemporary life, it is hardly surprising that semiotics and popular culture should be so closely associated.

The analysis of popular culture speaks to the need to examine culture as it exists here and now. There is an immediacy inherent in the pieces in this collection and a connectedness in writer’s relationships with their topics. As Cobley concludes:

Of course, whether one is closely reading the communications of two barn owls, masses of bacteria, or the varied features of popular culture, one is doing semiotics whether one likes it or not.

ISSN# 1488-0733
Product #V6 N1
122  pages

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