Assignment 8. Participatory culture

The term of participatory culture was introduced by Henry Jenkins who studies it and social phenomena which are connected to participatory culture. Jenkins describes participatory culture as culture “”in which fans and other consumers are invited to actively participate in the creation and circulation of new content” (Jenkins 2008, p. 331). There are large number of features which are common in participatory culture.

First of all, this type of culture has low barriers to artistic expression and civil engagement. This means that almost everyone could express themselves in different ways. Jenkins studies fandoms which are the fanbase of some popular event like film, series of musical band. According to this point, fans, for example, could express themselves with fanfiction, fanart or other ways. Second important point is strong support for creating and sharing creations with others in participatory culture. This means that there are a lot of platforms where people could show their creations. Nowadays, in twenty-first century there are such social net platforms as YouTube and Tumblr where anyone could share their creations. Jenkins believes that such platforms are necessary for participatory culture.

Third point of participatory culture is some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. As it could be understood, people who has more experience should be supportive and teach or guide newcomers. Fourth feature, according to Jenkins, is that there should be members who believe that their contributions matter. This is one of the main arguments for these people to create something. Last but not least point is about members who feel some degree of social connection with one another. Connection with other people and care about creations is also an argument to create and to share (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton and Robison 2009, 5f) .

All in all, Jenkins ideas about participatory culture are about expressions, engagement, creation, sharing, experience, contributions and feelings ( Fuchs, 2014,p. 57). Nevertheless, there is some critical analysis from different authors. For example, Fuchs says that Jenkins concentrates only on creation and sharing but not on “how these practices
are enabled by and antagonistically entangled into capital accumulation” (2014, p. 57). Also, Fuchs mentions that Jenkins does not analyse culture’s political economy and ignores important negative aspects. For example, Fuchs uses the case of online hate groups as right-wing extremists who discuss their ideas in Facebook groups. According to the notion of Jenkins, they are also the part of participatory culture but negative part. However, according to Fuchs, Jenkins avoids this kind of discussion and concentrates mostly on fandoms and other expression of fan culture.

Another argument in critics of Jenkins is lack of connection with politics. Jenkins is sure that sharing without profit is not just a special feature but could also be a position against some political statements, Moreover, fans of concrete fandoms also could be carriers of specific political worldview. There are many contemporary examples of that. For example, fans of USA’s Late Night show are mostly democrats and their position is against Trump. It happens because in 2017 the comedians and not only journalist show the situation in the country and criticize actions of a new president. Nevertheless, Fuchs is sure that belief in political position of fans is over-rated.

On the other hand, Van Dijck (2009) looks on the area of economics and criticises Jenkins’s idea from this point. First of all, Van Dijck questions the non-profit goal of participatory culture. Van Dijck’s main point concentrates on economics of social platforms. The argument against Jenkins is that social platforms like YouTube and Facebook are based on making money. Their advertising suggests that they want to connect people and let them share their thoughts and experience but Van Dijck is sure that mostly they try to connect people with advertisment (2009, p. 865).

Second argument of Van Dijck is in analysis how many people are actually the creators of unique content. According to studies, “of those people who use the internet regularly, 52 percent are inactives, another 33 percent are ‘passive spectators’ and only 13 percent are actual creators” (Van Dijck, 2009, p. 861). This data questions one of the main principles of participatory culture and shows that most of people are just the viewers and not co-creators.

All in all, participatory culture is rather new term which is about culture where people create new content and share it with each other without any profit. Nevertheless, critics of this term shows that there are problems in participate culture on different levels as social, political and economical.

Literature list:

Fuchs, C. (2014) Social Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Sage. (chapter 3)
Van Dijck, J., & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its Discontents: A Critical Analysis of Web 2.0 Business Manifestos. New Media & Society, 11(5), 855-874.

Assignment 6. Art of persuasion

Art of persuasion exists for many thousands of years and is used in many different situation. It was mentioned even in Ancient Greece by philosophers and has the name rhetoric. Rhetoric is a special kind of speech which is serving one goal which is to persuade the public or one opponent. According to Simons (2001), rhetoric could be used for supporting the truth but also could mislead and be used as dangerous tool (2001, pp. 4-5). Also, Simons gives the concrete notion of rhetoric which concludes that it is “human communication designed to influence the autonomous judgement and actions of others” (Simons, 2001, p. 5).

This notion shows that there are many areas where the art of persuasion could be used. For example, it could be productive not only for media and advertising but also in political speeches, in the courts and in many other ways. Art of persuasion could be discussed in many ways also. First of all, rhetoric in court and in speeches of advocated was mentioned in the film Chicago (2002) where the heroine was judged for murder of her lover and was playing a role which was suggested by her advocate. This film is in the form of musical and one of the songs is exactly about the rhetoric and art of persuasion in court – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW3MIixEps4 .

Secondly, the discussion of moral side of rhetoric is very important. Studying rhetoric includes not only the question how to assume the role of persuader or learning how to think and act as the audience of persuasion but it also about issues of ethics.

Sonesson (2013)  suggests that there are five stages of persuasion. They are inventio, dispositio, elocutio, memoria and actio. Each of them has its own role starting with compile information (invention) and ending with pronounce the discourse (actio) (Sonesson, 2013, p. 8).

Moreover, Sonesson gives many examples how the art of persuasion works. One of the most clear is the example of IKEA advertising in Germany. Sonesson claims that IKEA was concentrated on selling the “the Swedish way of life” . Also, every culture, according to Sonesson, is a  “dynamic  sign  system  created  and  changed  by  its  members  in  order  to  make  life  understandable, organized and more manageable” (2013, p. 50).

In example of selling the Chrysler and Jeep products to Turkey they used in the advertising the concept of burger. In minds of all people around the world burger is connected with fast food idea but the impression from fast food is different in different cultures. In western world fast food is associated with something unhealthy but in Turkey the first association is with Europe and western world. The next step in this line of thoughts that something from Europe has better quality and it is good. In this way the advertising company used the specific ideas and associations from the culture to persuade the consumers to buy the product.

Also, the contemporary advertising could be analyzed in this way. There are two Nike tv-commercial which were created few months ago. One of them is for Russian women-customers ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_iCIISngdI ) and one is for women from arabic countries – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMoqPHvrW_w . Arabic commercial uses the cultural stereotypes for show the freedom which gives Nike. Traditional arabic clothes, for example, and judging eye sights of men should work for the persuasion. On one hand, there are traditions which limits the opportunities for women. On other hand, there is Nike company with the slogan “Just do it” and images of women in different clothes for many types of sport. In my view, this should persuade customers that Nike gives them freedom which they do not have without it.

Russian advertising uses the special kind of cultural code which is close exactly to Russian people and especially to women. It is the old soviet song which is about how nice, harmless and beautiful are women. The text of original song considers that women are made of flowers and marmalade (0:33-0:35). However, in this advertising the girl changes this song with her own lyrics when she sees the women who are doing different sports in Nike’s clothes. In this two tv-commercials there is the same idea of freedom. In arabic countries the rules are seen in the clothes and worldview of men and in Russia they are in the stereotypes and produced even by innocent children’s song. Also, the idea which Nike is trying to persuade in is also the same. It is the idea of selling the freedom with Nike’s products.  There could be discussion of the morality and truth in this commercials. Are they really trying to show the freedom for women in societies with gender stereotypes and use the persuasion for good purposes? Or they are just trying to sell their product and use contemporary problems in society for that?

All in all, rhetoric is a large field which could be used for good and for bad purposes in many areas of everyday life. Politics, courts and commercials use art of persuasion every day and it could be seen in examples which are given in literature but it also could be seen on tv or on youtube if watch it carefully and think about it.

Literature list:

Simons, H.W. (2001). The Study of Persuasion. In: H.W. Simons with J. Morreale & B.E. Gronbeck, Persuasion in Society (pp. 3-24), Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Sonesson, G. (2013). Two strands of rhetoric in advertising discourse. International Journal of Marketing Semiotics, 1(1), 6-24.

Assignment 7. From viral media to spreadable media

Nowadays datasphere or mediasphere, how it also could be called, is developing very fast and there are several phenomena which appeared not so long ago. One of them is based on huge amount of information which is created every day and for commercials there is only way, according to Jenkins (2013). He believes that information and commercial should be spread all around mediasphere or it will be dead.

It is quite new approach but the ideas of expansion of information started with the idea about viral media. The main concept of this idea is media virus which travels through the mediaspace and works as usual viruses. Media viruses infects networks and areas of media as television and Internet. According to Rushkoff (1994),  The “protein shell” of a media virus might be an event, invention, sex scandal or anything else which catches attention (Rushkoff, 1994, p. 10). The goal of media virus is in expansion and influence the certain point of view on moral, lifestyle or anything else.

Also, there is another term which is an analogue for a gene in talk about biological viruses. This term is meme. According to Rushkoff, this concept was overused. It became famous because of Richard Dawkins who establish a theory about memes, Moreover, according to Dawkins, religion in any kind of it is a kind of media virus. Nevertheless, concept of memes was rethought and on the internet it is usually used with another meaning.

Some ideas of viral media were accepted by creators of advertising and many commercial became popular and actually viral. One of the main reasons for that became such platform as YouTube. Phenomena of Youtube is also disscussed by Jenkins who has his own point of view of media. According to Jenkins, there is such category of media as spreadable media. “Spreadable Media focuses on the social logics and cultural practices that have enabled and popularized these new platforms, logics that explain why sharing has become such common practice, not just how” (Jenkins, 2013, p. 3).

Spreadability is an important and even crucial factor of media. It is about viewers and their wish to spread the content. Another author which was mentioned by Jenkins, uses the term of “stickiness” when he was trying to describe the same type of content. “Spreadability assumes a world where mass content is continually repositioned as it enters different niche communities” (Jenkins, 2013, p. 27).

With all this information there is an opportunity to analyse the concrete examples and see the react of mediasphere on some viral commercials. The advertising of Old Spice could be a bright example. One particular video from all advertising campane became very popular. It is the video The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. For now it has over 54 million views and it was loaded to YouTube in 2010.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE

The react of the viewers could be seen as positive. There are more than 196 thousands likes and it means that so much people added this commercial to the void with favourite videos. Moreover, there are a lot of comments under this commercial. Many of them are the parodies on a video like “Look at your comment. Back to mine.” and so on. Many people got the impression about jokes about sexist view on a man. Also, in the field of this discussion there was another video with a young woman as a main character.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XApxFznVafg

This parody could also be the interesting point to study because it plays on stereotypes but with the men as viewers and woman as the object of wishes. The original commercial was funny and absurdist and played on stereotypes but it was not offensive because the man was the object of the wishes. However, with the opposite turn of this situation there could be seen that another angle would be sexist and could receive negative comments.

Another parody but without any ideas or even approach to the social issues was with toy from Sesame Street and the main character. The goal to that video is to make funny things in original video even more funny. The original commercial already had the absurdist effect and was playing on this but with the Sesame Street character it doubles the effect.

All in all, Jenkins and Rushkoff believe that nowadays the best way for commercials to be on the top is to be spreadable. Rushkoff prefers the concept of virus and Jenkins talks about it as about spreadable media.

Literature:

Jenkins, H., Li, X., & Domb, A.
(2008). If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead. Creating Value in a Spreadable Marketplace

Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J.
(2013). Introduction: Why Media Spread. In Spreadable media: creating value and meaning in a networked culture (pp. 1-46). New York; London: New York University

Rushkoff, D.
(1994). Introduction (pp. 3 -16). In: Media virus! Hidden agendas in popular culture (1st ed.). New York: Ballantine Books.

Assignment 5. TV commercial

The images of commercial and advertisement could be analyzes in a different number of ways. Marchin in the book Introduction to multimodal analysis (2007) shows few levels of the analysis which could tell about agency and ability “to act upon the world” (Marchin, 2007, p. 109).

The main focus of Marchin’s analysis is on positioning viewers in relations with people inside the image. This includes three main levels which are gaze, angle of interaction and distance. Each of them shows how the image was constructed and for which purpose.

The first step of the analysis is studying of the gaze. Gaze is about contact or interaction between person on image with a viewer. There are number of ways how interaction could be depicted. One of the most famous examples is a poster “I want you for the U.S. army”. The same principle is used on poster from USSR which asks a viewer “Did you volunteer?”

 

This type of poster is useful because it makes a connection with a viewer. Person inside an image look at the viewer and hand which points towards the viewer makes this connection stronger. It could be said that this pointing finger create an illusion of responsibility which is upon the viewer since he was that image.

Also. there are images when there is no such gaze to the viewer and people inside the image look on each other or just to another direction. This way is about not creating the connection and could serve other aims.

Next level of analysis is about angle of interaction. Marchin points that ” the angle from which we view a person can suggest different relations between the people represented and the viewer” (2007, p. 113). There are different angles from which we could see the people on an image. The horizontal angle suggests that viewer is in the same position with the person on image and should feel the same. There is also a vertical angle. The person who looks down has a dominant position and a person who looks up seems more vulnerable.

 

There are two posters from the commercial of Breaking Bad series, On a first poster which is for season 2 of this series the viewer is on the same level as characters or, at least, really close to this level. There is an impression that the viewer is sitting with these people and his eye level confirms that. In my point of view, this shows that characters are just like the viewers. They are ordinary people but they are just trying to deal with extraordinary situation. Nevertheless, poster for season 3 is changed. Now viewer is looking up to see the figures of the characters. They look dominant and even dangerous.

Finally, distance between viewer and people on the image works for establishing the close connection if distance is short and the absence of relations if distance is big. Here is another poster for Breaking Bad commercial. The faces of people on the image are close to the viewer which makes a link or a connection to them. Moreover, the angry gazes to the viewer make this connection even stronger.

Also, Marchin mentions the kinds of participants on the image. This is important for the commercial of many products because it could show the main audience. There are three ways to analyse kinds of participants. It could be studied is there an individual on the image or a group. Secondly, the categorization could be examined and, finally, the non-representation is important for this analysis.

Assignment 4. Discourse Analysis 2

Discourse analysis 2 could looks similar to discourse analysis 1 because both of them work with the same sort of materials but the research problems in each cases are totally different. First of all, discourse analysis 2 is concentrated on particular institutions and their practices.  Discourse analysis 1, on the other hand, works with the social positions of difference and authority which are articulated through images and texts. 

Moreover, discourse analysis 2 has number of crucial terms which help to understand this method better. First term is institutional apparatus’. According to Rose, this is ” the  forms  of  power/ knowledge  which  constitute  the  institutions” (2001, p. 166).  Institutions are the large number of different spheres. Religion’s morals, laws and even theatre could be seen as institutions. 

Another important term as the ‘institutional technologies‘ means “practical  techniques used to practise that power/knowledge” (Rose, 2001, p. 166). Both of them help to focus the attention on the processes of production and use. All in all, discourse analysis 2 concentrates mostly on the sites of production and audiencing.

There are various types of sources for this type of analysis. Organizations, places and their structure are the one of the most suitable sources for analysis. In her book Rose prefers to concentrate on art-galleries and museums as the source for the studying material. Following her example, Rose describes several technologies of displaying and each of them serves for different kind of meaning and showing.

As the example of museum I decided to analyse Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Rose mentions that it could be useful to look on the building as a whole at first and on it visual appearance. The building for this museum was built in  18771885. It was developed and reconstructed for a few times. Moreover, one of the halls was specially rebuilt for Nachtwacht painting. It could say a lot about the influence and power of its artist, Rembrandt.

After that, there should be an examination of space inside of museum. According to Lidchi (1997, p. 172), there are several technologies of display in museums. They are:

  1. display cases, mounted either on walls or on tables.
  2. open display, with no protective cover.
  3. reconstructions,  which  are  supposedly  life-like  scenes. The  dioramas discussed  by  Haraway  (1989)  in  the  AMNH  are  a  particular  sort  of reconstruction.
  4. simulacra: objects made by the museum in order to fill a gap in their collection

Also, there is a need to pay attention how space is organized inside, what are the colours of the walls and how it could affect the visitors. First of all, there are a lot of open displays in Rijksmuseum. It is still forbidden to touch the objects but most of them are completely open.

Next thing which I think is important is a lot of space in the halls and rooms. They allow not only to stand near the art objects or sit on the special sofas but also there is opportunity to sit on the floor.

Children and school students could sit on the floor with art works around. In my point of view, this creates relax atmosphere. The painting are important but they are close to the viewers and not on the pedestal which people could not touch. Another point, which was already mentioned before is colour of the walls. In Rijksmuseum they are not white but mostly blue. This does not help to concentrate attention on the painting but, nevertheless, help visitors to relax.

Assignment 3. Discourse Analysis 1

The term discourse was created by Foucault and has concrete meaning. First of all, this term played a crucial role in Foucault’s theoretical arguments and in his methodology. Definition of discourse, according to Rose in her book Virtual Methodologies (2001), is “a particular knowledge about the world which shapes how the world is understood and how things are done in it” (2001, p. 136). There are many types of discourses as medical discourse, political discourse. Even art could be considered as a discourse.

 Also, there are number of terms which could help to understand discourse better. Firstly, the intertextuality  refers to the way that the meanings of any one discursive image or text depend not only on that one text or image, but also on the meanings carried by other images and texts. It works as a link between different sources as images and texts.

 

Another crucial term is a term of power Foucault was quite clear that discourse was a form of discipline, and this leads us to his concern with power. Power is everywhere, since discourse too is everywhere. Power relationships could be studied on different levels and with different examples. Also, concept of power relates to knowledge. Since discourse is a particular knowledge it could be concluded that knowledge gives power or knowledge is power. 

Nevertheless, discourse analysis I has particular points of interest. They are various kinds  of  visual  images  and  verbal  texts. On this point the intertextuality is necessary because it is one of the main methods to study images and texts. 

There are several strategies how to do this kind of analysis. For example, some of them are about:

  1. looking at your sources with fresh eyes.
  2. immersing yourself in your sources.
  3. identifying key themes in your sources.
  4. examining their effects of truth.
  5. paying attention to their complexity and contradictions.
  6. looking for the invisible as well as the visible.
  7. paying attention to details

Elliot in Consuming caffeine: The discourse of Starbucks and coffee” In: Consumption (2001) uses the methods of discourse analysis to study Starbucks. According to Elliot, coffee is a popular product, especially in USA, so the study of it helps to go deeper in the analyzing of global culture.

Advertisement, Brands and WALL-E

Questions about advertisement which were raised in No Logo (1999) by Naomi Klein are very popular.  One of the best example is how humans are pictured in the animated film WALL-E (2008).

By the way, this film is about many topics as emotions, love, humaneness, care of the environment, dangers of technologies and few others.  However, the picture about future of humanity is very bright here and many points are the same which Klein mentioned in her books.

(My favourite example is alphabet for children: “A is for Axiom. This is your home. B is for Buy n Large. This is your very best friend”). And just to show the final step in relations between corporation and the world in this fictional universe. Yes, that’s the logo of BnL on the flag!

 

Flags, signs and popularity

There is a video from TED Talk about city flags. Flags are the symbolic signs according to semiotics approach but this speech not exactly about it. It is about how flags are designed and what should be made with flag to make it popular. These suggestions are not just about flags. They could be about logotypes for brands, for example.

Nevertheless, I decide that it is rather interesting video which is fun and informative.

Assignment 2. Cultural branding

Development of advertisement and branding goes for many decades but in 21st century it plays a crucial role in the selling production. According to Naomi Klein, this process actively started in the second half of XX century with new inventions which were needed to spread all over the countries and especially in USA (Klein, 1999, p. 27). In her book No Logo (1999) Klein shows the older example about selling the new types of lamps which were electrical and after some time completely changed the oil lamps. For such big changes there were a need in a good advertising and new ways of creating interest.

D. Holt in his book How Brands become Icons. The Principles of Cultural Branding (2004) tells about few ways which were tried by companies. Holt mentions three important but not very useful and independent ways which are mind-share branding, emotional branding and viral branding.

Mind-share branding is about to be known by consumers and have popularity. This type of branding is about mass-communications, provocative images or advertising and other ways to have people’s attention. Holt uses example of Corona Beer to show that mind-branding could be the way to be known but it is not the way to become a cultural icon. Holt is sure that Corona’s iconic value “resided in the particulars of its distinctive myths, not in the abstractions that mind-share advocates emphasize” (Holt, 2004, p. 20). Mind-share branding is too general and abstract to have the possibility to construct a cultural icon. 

Next way is emotional branding. Main point of this type of branding is in emotional connection with consumers. Holt shows the example of Coca-Cola advertising where they followed the tendencies of each decade and found the problems which people were passionate about. Coca-Cola focused their attention on the multicultural and racial division. It worked because of its time and perception but Holt is sure that “emotional attachment is the consequence of a great myth” but not just emotional link (2004, p. 34). His view also could be supported with examples of two contemporary advertising. One is a failed video about protest which was made by Pepsi

One one hand, it is almost the same what was done by Coca-Cola. It is about unity and peaceful solutions but there is a lot of critics because of it. Coca-Cola did not have such feedback. Maybe, it was less controversial but maybe Pepsi doesn’t have such myth which made the possibility for such advertising.

Much more popular video is from Nike advertising company in Russia. Nike has long story of telling ideas about strengh and will in their promotion videos, they sell such way of life. The second reason of popularity of this advertisement is also an emotional link to shown seen but without first reason this video also could fail.

Final brand strategy which is also not very useful for Holt is viral branding. Viral branding focuses on the paths of public influence and ways how non company actors influence customers to value the brand. This strategy is about consumers and not firms.

Nevertheless, Holt points that most useful way is cultural branding. Main principle is in constructing a cultural icon. Cultural icon is a person or thing which is seen as symbol of something in culture. This could be made with making an identity myth.

This type of branding had few important features. They are:

  1. Addressing acute contradictions in society
  2. Performing identity myths that address people’s desires and anxieties
  3. Performing as activists and leading culture
  4. Relying on breakthrough performances, rather than consistent communications
  5. Enjoying a cultural halo effect (“cultural halo effect: the positive impact of high levels of identity value on conventional brand metrics,such as perceived quality and association with key category benefits” (Holt, 2004, p. 11) )

Cultural icon is the way to become famous and to make emotional bonds at one time. However, this development of brands could be seen as negative effect on culture and society. Klein in her book talks about too much advertisements, logotypes and brands all around us (1999, p. 31).  Brands, according to Klein, affects culture and could be more important for people than real manufacturing. These consequences Klein sees as dangerous one. It it not just about less pretty view in the city because of billboards and other kinds of advertising. It is about influence on our minds, choice in buying products and culture in a whole.

Assignment 1. Semiotics and signs

There are number of approaches and discourses which give an opportunity to study contemporary world and events in it. One of them is semiotics. Semiotics began to develop in the end of XIX and at the beginning of XX centuries. Two main authors who established it were Ferdinande de Saussure (1857 – 1913) who was linguistic professor of University of Geneva and Charles S. Pierce (1839-1914), philosopher at Harvard University. 

Semiotics as discipline could be defined as studying of signs, their meaning, significance and development. Berger in his book The objects of affection: semiotics and consumer culture (2010) quotes another author who claimed that semiotics “studies the life of signs” (Berger, 2010, p. 4).  Branston and Stafford in their book The media student’s book (2003) concentrate on more theoretical and scholar definition and emphasize that our perception of reality is itself constructed and shaped by the words and signs we use, in various social contexts. With this point there could be seen an actual importance of semiotics.

Nevertheless, the term of semiotics could not be understood without definition of sign. Sign is a main object of semiotics studies. According to Berger, sign is “something that stands for something else” (2010, p. 3). Sign could be a spoken or written word, image or object which is unified in the mind with a particular cultural concept.  Signs are around us every day. There are three kinds of signs. There are icon, index and symbol. 

Icon is a sign which signify by resemblance. Photographs, drawn pictures which look very similar to the real objects are the icons. Also, icon is a sign only of material object. Icon could not be a sign of idea or concept. The signs on an image below are iconic because there is no difficulty to see a bike, train, airplane or baby images.

Index is a sign which is also close to the object which it signs but index signifies by causal connections. In his book Berger uses the example of smoke of fire as indexical sign and Branston and Stafford have the example of runny nose as indexical sign for a cold (2003, p. 14).  Index points towards the object but not show the full image of it. 

The last type of sign is symbol and it signifies by convention. Symbol is an accepted sign for any type of object or concept. It is important that symbols could be signs for ideas, concepts and other non-material things. There are symbols of justice, religions, genders and others. 

Picture below clearly shows the differences between types of signs. At first, in the images on the top it is easy to recognise male and female. Secondly, different shoes work as the clues and the causal connection to different sexes. Finally, the images below are the accepted signs of male and female and they are symbols because there is no other evidence of their meaning except cultural traditions.

Nevertheless, it should be remembered that different images and signs could be seen as not one type but several. It depends on a point of view.  Few examples of it were mentioned in the books. As an example which was not in any written chapters a pirate flag with a skull and bones on it could serve. First of all, the skull on a flag could be an icon if it is seen as image of skull without any other context. From this point of view, it is the same as image of men and women on the most of toilets. Also, there is symbolic meaning because skull is a symbol of death and accepted symbol of pirates.

Finally, there are several reasons why semiotics could be a research method. First of all, signs are used in all the areas of everyday life and they could provide the information about such themes as gender roles, impression about contemporary politicians and development and popularity of different brands (Berger, 2010, p. 31). Language is also full of signs and metaphors and semiotics is a suitable method to study it. Branston and Stafford claims that signs are closely related with their social nature (2003, p. 24), so social sphere is also needed to be studied from the point of view of signs.

All in all, semiotics is a wide discipline which studies all the types of signs, their development and meaning in the culture. So because of the great amount of signs in our everyday life semiotics is an important and useful method to study culture and society.