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Module Title
Media Semiotics And Discourse

Semiotics; structuralism; post-structuralism; media discourse

SCQF Points15
ECTS Points7.5
CreatedApril 2010
ApprovedAugust 2010
AmendedAugust 2012
Version No.2

This Version is No Longer Current
The latest version of this module is available here
Prerequisites for Module

None in addition to SCQF 8 entry requirements or equivalent.

Corequisite Modules


Precluded Modules


Aims of Module

To understand the basics of semiotic theory and the principles of discourse analysis, and to apply these to media texts.

Learning Outcomes for Module

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

1. apply semiotic techniqes to the analysis and evaluation of media texts.
2. understand the basic currents of structuralist and post-structuralist semiotics.
3. Understand the main elements of discourse theory as applied to media.
4. be able to conduct a discourse analysis of selected media texts.

Indicative Module Content

The sign, signifier and signified; paradigmatic and syntagmatic semiotic analysis; codes; semiotic systems; intertextuality, empty and floating signifiers; discourse theory; discourse and power; elements and approaches to media discourse; broadcast news discourse; press discourse.

Indicative Student Workload

Contact Hours

Full Time

Directed Study



Private Study



Mode of Delivery

Lecture format for delivery of theoretical element. Seminar/workshop format for textual analysis and discussion.

Assessment Plan

Learning Outcomes Assessed
Component 1 1,2
Component 2 3,4

Coursework 2 (50%): discourse analysis of media texts

Coursework 1 (50%): semiotic analysis of media texts

Indicative Bibliography

1.BARTHES, R., 2000. Mythologies. London: Vintage.
2.CHANDLER, D., 2005. Semiotics: the basics. Oxford: Routledge.
3.FAIRCLOUGH,N., 2014. <I>Language and Power. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.
4.MACHIN, D. and MAYR, A., 2012. How to do critical discourse analysis: a multimodal introduction. London: Sage.
5.MATHESON, D., 2005. Media discourses: analysing media texts. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
6.VAN DIJK, T., 2008. Discourse and power. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
7.VAN LEEUWEN, T., 2005. Introducing social semiotics. London: Routledge.

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781