Exercise 2.1: Identify the Authors’ Main Ideas

Objective: to identify the main ideas in Judith Williamson’s Decoding Advertisements and Stuart Hall’s “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power.”

Estimated time: 1-2 hours
Due by: 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 4th

Part 1—Viewing  and Reading

  1. Watch the “Ferdinand de Saussure and Structural Linguistics” video.
  2. Re-watch the Stuart Hall – Race, Gender, Class in the Media Al Jazeera video again if you need a refresher.
  3. Read the Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising excerpt by Judith Williamson.
  4. Read your annotations from “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power” by Stuart Hall.

Writing

Quote 1-2 sentences from each of the readings that you believe represent the main idea of the essays. Post your response as a comment below.

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28 thoughts on “Exercise 2.1: Identify the Authors’ Main Ideas

  1. From “The West and the Rest: Discourse and power” a quote that represent its main idea is “We should admit that power produces knowledge … That power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute … power relations”. Two quotes from Judith Williamson’s “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” that represent its main idea are “A sign is quite simply a thing whether object, word, or picture – which has a particular meaning to a person or group of people. It is neither the thing nor the meaning alone, but the two together.” and “The sign consist of the Signifier, the material object, and the Signified, which is its meaning. These are only divided for analytical purposes: in practice a sign is always thing-plus-meaning.”

  2. In Stuart Hall’s “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power”, his main idea is: “Discourse is about the production of knowledge through language. But it is itself produced by a practice: ‘discursive practice’ – the practice of producing meaning.”
    In Judith Williamson’s “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” her main idea is: “a selecting of certain elements, things or people from the ordinary world, and then rearranging and altering them in terms of a product’s myth to create a new world, the world of the advertisement. This is the essence of advertising.”

  3. In Stuart Hall’s “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power” the main idea is “to the formation of the languages or ‘discourses’ in which Europe began to describe and represent the difference between itself and these ‘others'”. From Judith Williamson’s “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” the main idea is “What an advertisement ‘says’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of a deceptive mythology of advertising”.

  4. In “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power”, Hall’s main idea is “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested ” (Hall, 205).
    In “Decoding Advertisments: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” Judith Williamson’s main idea is that “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean, and analysing the way in which they work. What an advertisement ‘say’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message behind it.” (Williamson, 17)

  5. From the essay :“The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power” by Stuart Hall, the quote I believe is the main idea of the essay is “Discourses are not deductible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested” (Hall 205).
    From the essay, “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” excerpt by Judith Williamson, the quote I believe is the main idea is “based on the assumption that ads are merely the indivisible conveyors of certain undesirable messages, and only sees meaning in the overt ‘content’ of the ad rather than its ‘form’ in other words, ignoring the content of the form.

  6. In Stuart Hall’s “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power”, the main idea he is trying to present is that discourse, the flow of ideas can heavily influence one’s ideology. This can have a stronger impact especially from someone with power but the influence can sometime be innocent in its nature.
    In Judith Williamson’s Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising excerpt, she assert that in the world of advertising, Signifier and Signified (thing and idea) are inseparable and bound together. Therefore, the value of an object is interchangeable by giving its value to others.

  7. -“Decoding Advertisement s: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” excerpt by Judith Williamson- “A sign is quite simply a thing whether object, word, or picture – which has a particular meaning to a person or group of people. It is neither the thing nor the meaning alone , but the two together.”

    -“The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power” by Stuart Hall- “The question of whether a discourse is true of false is less important than whether it is effective in practice. When it is effective – organizing and regulating relations of power (say, between the West and the Rest) – it is called “regime of truth”.

  8. The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power- Stuart Hall

    “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power- they are part of the way power circulates and is contested”(205).

    Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising- Judith Williamson

    “What an advertisement ‘says’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a message behind it ”(17).

  9. The main idea to be drawn from ” The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power ” by Stuart Hall would be that “Discourses are not reducible to cost interest, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested”(205). On the other hand, in “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” an excerpt written by Judith Williamson she details that “What an advertisement ‘says’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a message behind it ”(17).

  10. In the essay, “The West and The Rest: Discourse and Power” by Stuart Hall, the quotes that represent Hall’s main ideas are “Foucault would argue that the discourse of the West about the Rest was deeply implicated in practice – i.e. in how the West behaved toward the west” (Hall 202). The second quote that represents the main idea is “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested” (Hall 205).
    In the essay “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” by Judith Williamson the quote that represents the main idea is “This is the essence of all advertising: components of ‘real’ life, our life, are used to speak a new language, the advertisement’s. Its language, its terms are the myth: for as we have seen, they are too full of coincidence, of colour co-ordination, to be real the very means of expression is the myth” (Williamson 23).

  11. One sentence from “The West and The Rest: Discourse and Power” by Stuart Hall that represents the main idea is “Discourses are not reducible to class-interest, but always operate in relation to to power” and one sentence from “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising excerpt” by Judith Williamson that represents the main idea is “What an advertisement ‘says’ is merely what it claims to say”.

  12. From Stuart Hall’s essay “The West and the Rest”, “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested.”

    From Judith Williamson’s essay “Decoding Advertisements”, “The work of the advertisement is not to invent a meaning, but to translate meaning for it by means of a sign system we already know”.

  13. Stuart Hall- “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power
    By “discourse”, we mean a particular way of representing “the West”, “the Rest” and the relations between them (201).
    Discourse is about the production of knowledge through language (201).

    Judith Williamson- “Decoding Advertisements”
    …it is the first function of an advertisement to create a differentiation between one particular product and others in the same category (24).
    The product, which initially has no ‘meaning’, must be given value by a person or object which already has a value to us (31).

  14. The West and The Rest: Discourse and Power by Stuart Hall

    “The knowledge which a discourse produces constitutes a kind of power, exercised over those who are “known”. When that knowledge is exercised in practice, those who are “known” in a particular way will be subject to it”.

    Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising by Judith Williamson

    “A sign is quite simply a thing whether object, word, or picture – which has a particular meaning to a person or group of people. It is neither the thing nor the meaning alone , but the two together.”

  15. Stuart Hall’s ‘The West & the Rest’ describes the way discourse(in the west) about the rest may not be innocent, but rather may be negatively affecting the ‘rest’ since
    “when statements about a topic are made in a particular discourse, the discourse makes it possible to construct the topic a certain way, it also limits the other ways in which the topic can be constructed”(Hall 201)
    &
    “those who produce the discourse also have the power to make it true, to enforce its validity”(Hall 205).

    Judith Williamson’s “Decoding Advertisements” explains the meaning of advertisements beyond the superficial elements.
    “what an advertisement ‘say’ is merely what it claims to say, it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an Ad is simply a transparent vehicle for the message behind it.”(Williamson 17)

  16. Comment #1

    “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power” by Stuart Hall.

    Main idea: “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested. The question of whether a discourse is true or false is less important than whether it is effective in practice” (205).

    • In The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power by Stuart Hall a quote the best describes the essay is “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power- they are part of the way power circulates and is contested”(205). While in Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising by Judith Williamson
      A quote I would say best describes this essay is “A sign is quite simply a thing whether object, word, or picture – which has a particular meaning to a person or group of people. It is neither the thing nor the meaning alone , but the two together.”

  17. Within Stuart Hall’s “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power” the main idea stated within the text is “Discourses are not deductible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested” (205).
    While in “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” by Judith Williamson the main idea is, “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean, and analyzing the way in which they work. What an advertisement ‘say’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message behind it”(17).

  18. In the essay “The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power”, Stuart Hall’s main idea is “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested. The question of whether a discourse is true or false is less important than whether it is effective in practice” (205).

    In the essay, “Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising”, Judith Williamson’s main idea is “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean, and analysing the way in which they work. What an advertisement ‘says’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message’ behind it” (17).

    (Please disregard my previous comments.)

  19. The main idea that Hall makes sure to mention in the essay Discourse and power is” Discourse is not reducible to class interests, but always operate in relation to power- they are part of the way power circulates and is contested: The question of whether it is effective in practice…” (205)

    For the main idea that Judith Williamson presents in the essay is the following: “what an advertisement ‘say’ is merely what it claims to say, it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an Ad is simply a transparent vehicle for the message behind it.” (17)

  20. “A sign is quite simply a thing whether object, word, or picture – which has a particular meaning to a person or group of people. It is neither the thing nor the meaning alone, but the two together.”
    “Discourses are not reducible to cost interest, but always operate in relation to power – they are part of the way power circulates and is contested”

  21. Stuart Hall’s, “The West and the Rest: Discourse of Power” presents its main idea when Hall states that “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power… The question of whether a discourse is true or false is less important than whether it is effective in practice” (205). In “ Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising” by Judith Williamson the main idea seems to be shown when it is stated that, “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean, and analyzing the way in which they work. What an advertisement “says” is … part of a deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message’ behind it” (17).

  22. In Stuart Hall’s “The West and the rest”, the main idea discussed in summarized by the quote “Discourse is about production of knowledge through language. but it itself is produced by…discursive practice- the practice of producing meaning…all practices have a discursive aspect. So discourse enters into and influences all social practices” (201-202).
    Meanwhile, Hall’s “Decoding Advertisements” can be summed up through “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean, and analyzing the way in which they work. What an advertisement ‘says’ is merely what it claims to say…advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message’ behind it” (17).

  23. “Discourses are not reducible to class-interests, but always operate in relation to power- they are part of the way power circulates and is contested. The question of whether a discourse is true or false is less important than whether it is effective in practice. When it is effective – organizing and regulating relations od power (say, between the West and the Rest) – it is called a “regime of truth”.”(Hall 205).

    “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean and analyzing the way in which they work. What an advertisement ‘say’ is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology of advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message behind it” (Williamson 17).

  24. In the “discourse of power” Robert Hall deliberately places two main ideas in the face of the reader to see. With the first being “One important point about this notion of discourse is that it is not based on the conventional distinction between thought and action,language and practice. Discourse is about the production of knowledge through language…..So discourse enters into and influences all social practices” (Hall 205).

    Judith Williams expresses the main idea in “Decoding Advertisements” was “We can only understand what advertisements mean by finding out how they mean, and analyzing the way in which they work. What an advertisements says is merely what it claims to say: it is part of the deceptive mythology if advertising to believe that an advertisement is simply a transparent vehicle for a ‘message’ behind it” (Williamson 17).

  25. In the “discourse of power” by Stuart Hall, I chose, “Discourse is about the production of knowledge through language. But it is itself produced by a practice: ‘discursive practice’ – the practice of producing meaning” (Hall 201).

    In “Decoding Advertisements” by Judith William, I chose “the limits of identity are chosen arbitrarily, it is clear, because in other cases two identical products from the very same manufacturer will be given different names and different images” (Williamson 24).

  26. In “The West and the Rest: Discourse of Power”, Stuart Hall informs”; “By ‘discourse,’ we mean a particular way of representing ‘the west,’ ‘the Rest,’ and the relations between them” (Hall’ 201)

    In decoding Advertisement by Judith Williamson, a quote that quite explains is “The information that we are given is frequently untrue, and even when it is true, we are often being persuaded to buy products which are unnecessary” (Williamson’ 17)

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