New vocabularies in film semiotics: Structuralism, post-structuralism and beyond

Robert Stam, Robert Burgoyne, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The founding premise of this text is that film semiotics has constituted one of the signal advances in arts criticism in recent years. Ever since film theory broke free from the impressionistic debate about auteurism and "realism" which had dominated film-critical discourse through the early 1960s, film semiotics and its developments have been at the center of the analytic enterprise in film. In a first stage, Saussurean structural linguistics provided the dominant theoretical model, followed by a second phase in which Althusserian Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis became the preferred conceptual grids, followed in turn by a more pluralistic period in which movements such as feminism, already a formative presence in film studies, both incorporated and critiqued the antecedent theories and schools. Although post-structuralism "buried" the scientistic dreams of early structuralist semiology, currently semiotics, conceived in a broad sense, continues to form the matrix, and provide much of the vocabulary, for approaches ranging from the linguistic, psychoanalytic, feminist and Marxist to the narratological, reception-oriented and translinguistic. Although film semiotics has partially retreated from its earlier totalizing claims, what Guy Gauthier calls the "semiotic diaspora" remains a dynamizing presence within reflexion on film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages246
ISBN (Electronic)9781134963171
ISBN (Print)9780203977194
StatePublished - Jul 8 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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