Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Gesellschaftliche Reproduktion und kulturelle Innovation. Aus semiotischer Sicht / Social Reproduction and Cultural Innovation. From a Semiotic Point of View

Advertising: Fostering Mythic Utopias

Nicoletta Pancheri (University of Trento)



In this paper I will try to investigate the relationship between sign production and ideological production in the world of contemporary advertising. An important object of semiotics since the 1950s with the famous analyses of Barthes and Eco, advertising is still today a valid place of investigation for this field of analysis helping us to understand the reality in which we live. Advertising does not only belong to the area of mass communication but it has become nowadays an important ideological vehicle fostering ideas of communication among people. Advertising is a form of communication which talks about communication. The sign production it represents heavily influences its ideological production: which kind of communication is advertising and which kind of communication does it foster? If in the 1950s many people talked about advertising as the source of hidden persuasions (Packard 1957), now this view is no more valid (Marrone 2001). As Barthes noted in the 1980s, advertising is emphatic and frank, it's message is clearly intentional without hidden implications. However, if the play of advertising is perfectly clear and intentional, what can be the effects of a form a communication in which the rhetoric of binary opposition, the fixity of stereotype, and the creation of imaginary worlds have so great an importance? A communication in which the utopia of the I (Marrone 2001; Ricci Garotti 2005) is the present major theme? Does it foster cultural innovation or rather cultural regression? As I will show in this paper, advertising is an ambiguous representation of our reality and society. Advertising mirrors and manipulates reality at the same time trying to foster collective desires and emotions and creating mythic utopias of the I which naturalize and immobilize reality thus preventing us to invent autonomously ourselves and our own lives.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-10-09