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By Elliot Gaines (auth.)

A worthy advisor to knowing the constitution and that means of media and its messages.

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Extra resources for Media Literacy and Semiotics

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Assumptions about the merits of any culturally constructed system must not be taken for granted. By discovering the assumptions in media representations, the literate observer can enjoy the pleasures of the media and be capable of negotiating independent understandings, while still being aware of attempts to persuade or manipulate the audience. As with traditional literacy, the exploration of moral and aesthetic codes requires another level of analysis in order to distinguish past practice from the potential for new understandings.

Media Literacy and Semiotics ● 19 dominance of certain belief systems. 11 Recognizing the advantages of gaining complicity rather than using coercion, powerful interests exploit the media in order to gain consensus for policies. Promoting themselves as messengers, the media attract attention to celebrity personalities, spokespersons, and opinion leaders, who become familiar and attractive to the more diverse populations in the audience. To a great extent media spokespersons are assumed a priori to be knowledgeable and to speak the truth in the public interest, simply because they have a presence in the media and subsequent access to audiences.

Communication is a continuous referential process that is completed only out of a necessity to act or agree upon a meaning. 10 However, while expanding on Peirce’s ideas, Nöth cautions that our image of the other is indeed a construction of our own self. 11 Therefore, understanding is based upon a self-referential, socially negotiated process intended to overcome the necessary ambiguity of communication. 12 Meaning is based upon an existing epistemological ground, the knowledge taken from a particular foundational way of validating experience that determines understanding and conduct.

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