Semiotics is the study of people and their culture through evaluating
the signs and symbols which the culture holds as important.If it is
possible to conceive of a science which studies the role of signs as part
of social life, and interprets the meaning of those symbols to the life of
the community or culture itself, then semiotics is that course of study.
Much like the process of interpreting paintings on cave walls in order to
understand pre-historic man, semiotics looks at thecave paintings’ of a
modern society and interprets some of the underlying thoughts, beliefs and
Semiotics is derived from part of social psychology, and hence of
general psychology. From the Greek semeon, ‘sign’, semiotics investigates
the nature of signs of a culture, and the laws governing them. Linguistics
is one branch of this general science which contributes to semiotics, as
does sociology, history, and cultural psychology. The laws which semiotics
will discover will be laws applicable in these other fields; these fields
will thus be assigned to a clearly defined place in the field of human
knowledge. (Saussure 1983, 15-16; Saussure 1974, 16)
Structuralism is an analytical method which has been employed by many
semioticians and which is based on Saussure’s linguistic model.
Structuralists seek to describe the overall organization of sign systems as
‘languages.’ They engage in a search for ‘deep structures’ underlying the
‘surface features’ of phenomena. However, contemporary social semiotics has
moved beyond the structuralist concern with the internal relations of parts
within a self-contained system, seeking to explore the use of signs in
specific social situations. Modern semiotic theory is also sometimes allied
with a Marxistapproach which stresses the role of ideology in the course
This paper investigates the roles of Lebanese food, clothing, and
other objects through a…

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