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Jonathan Bignell (1997) argues that the magazine is "just a collection a signs" (Bignell 1997: 78)
The first 200 words of this essay...
Jonathan Bignell (1997) argues that the magazine is "just a collection a signs" (Bignell 1997: 78). These signs may include paradigmatic and syntagmatic elements such as the title of the magazine, the fonts used, the layout, the colours, the texture of the paper, the language adopted, the content of the articles and so on, and each of these signs have been chosen to generate a meaning. The magazine is therefore a complex collection of signs that can be extensively decoded and analysed by its reader - "women's magazines communicate their mythic meaning by means of signs, thus their representations of the imaginary are dependent on the symbolic, the signs which do the communicating" (Bignell 1997: 78). Signs however, consisting (according to Saussure) of two elements, a signifier and a signified, only gain meaning when "it has someone to mean to" (Williamson 1978: 40). The reader is therefore very important and will bring his/her own interpretations to the texts by drawing on their own cultural values and perceptual codes. As Daniel Chandler argues, "'decoding' involves not simply basic recognition and comprehension of what a text 'says' but also the interpretation and evaluation of its meaning with reference to relevant codes" (Chandler,
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