semiotic analysis

Essay by rvintro April 2014

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Narration of identitythrough twoadvertisementsThe rebellious "Converse" and the delicate"Dolcce & Gabanna" Raihan Vintro




According to the Oxford Dictionaries, identity is: "the fact of being who or what a person or thing is" and "the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is".

This essay is going to discuss two ways which cultural identity is narrated through two advertisements: one from Converse, a popular brand of sneakers, and the second from Dolcce & Gabanna, a high standard brand.

Incited by political struggles and philosophical and linguistic concerns, identity developed to be on of the central themes of cultural studies during the 1990s. Feminism, ethnicity, sexual orientation, amongst others, has been important concerns intimately connected to politics of identity.

Several authors discussed the concept of identity. Descartes, an ancient Greek philosopher, for example, believed in the duality of mind and body, and mind was the true self. According to him, our minds are a collection of thoughts and memories, and together all that made the 'self', and if for example, someone would lose their memories he would state that that person's identity changed.

There are two arguments about identity: Essentialism and anti essentialism. The first term, on one hand, refers to identity as a set of personal values that remain characteristics of a persons essence; so it would be assumed that there is a universal way of being one way or another (heterosexual/homosexual, Asian/European, girl/boy). Anti essentialism, on the other hand, is not static, it isn't personally defined. It is shaped through personal relationship with society and culture. This basically means that over time we can change our identity several times.

Douglas Kellner in Questions of Cultural Identity states that "identity today becomes a freely chosen...