Cultural Studies Terms/Myth

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Roland Barthes defines myth as the second level of signification. When describing the meaning of an image there is not only the sign which consist of the signifiers and the signified. On this second level the sign functions as the signifier and together with a wider theme it forms an ideologically framed meaning – the myth (Hall 2003: 39 – 41). Barthes also distinguishes between the language-object – linguistic system – and metalanguage – myth; the language in which in one talks about the language-object (Hall 2003: 68). It is important to keep in mind that there is always a purpose when myth is concerned; signifier and signified have a clearly motivated relationship. So it “naturalizes” these motivations and justifies them. But it does not hide these motivations but purifies them by “giving it a universal, transhistorical basis and by stressing objectivity, and its origins in nature” (Hall 2003: 181f).