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Level 63

Definitions of some terms


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Sign
Any thing that communicates meaning from one person to another
Semiotics
Study of communication--how signs get and transmit meanings
Signifier
The physical pattern of the sign, shape, sound, etc.
Referent
The thing the sign points to in the real world
Signified
associations that come to mind of viewer when encountering the signifier and recalling the referent
Icon
Sign looks like referent
Index
Sign is a trace--like a footprint--of referent
Symbol
Sign arbitrarily assigned--like a word--to referent
Commodity
An external object, a thing which through its qualities satisfies human needs of whatever kind
Use value
The use of an object to a person. This varies from person to person and so cannot be inherent to the object.
Exchange value
The amount of stuff the object can be traded for. This varies with time and situation, and so cannot be inherent to the object either.
Labor value
The amount of time an average laborer takes to produce the object and the equipment required
En plein air
Outdoors
Bourgeois
A member of the urban middle class, frequently with some implication of the values, outlook, considered characteristic of the middle class, e.g. as exploiting the workers, or concerned with the proper and the traditional.
Modernity
The condition of the modern Western world, which emerged in the 19th C. from the advance of capitalism, global trade networks, and the Enlightenment.