Forum B

Please look at the following images and attend to the one or more of the first three questions as well as the fourth question.

Question #1:

pink_triangle     pinktridolo

Do some research on the pink triangle as depicted above?  Is the pink triangle a symbol, icon, or index or a combination of two or all three?  Please justify your answers?  How does appropriation configure into the use of the pink triangle and what does appropriation teach us about discourses in place?


Question #2


Would you categorize this statue as an icon or symbol or both or neither?  What is the reason for your answers?  What does this statue teach us about the the ways in which power and difference are intertwined with discourses in place?

Question #3:

CautionSign-IllegalsCrossing Near International Border. Southern U.S.

How would you categorize this road sign–icon, symbol, or index? What are the reasons for your answers? Who do you think erected these signs along the border and why? Who benefits and who doesn’t? In what  specific ways? 

Question 4: 

Overall, based on this exercise, how do the images above complicate our understanding of signs in ways that Scollen and Scollen do not attend to inDiscourses in Place?  What can we learn from the images about indexicality or the context-dependency of signs?

3 responses to “Forum B

  1. #1 The pink triangle in the holocaust meant that the person was gay or lesbian. There were other colored triangles for Jews, but the pink meant that someone was a homosexual. I think that the pink triangle was a symbol because there is nothing about the color pink or a shape of a triangle that means “homosexual.” The color and shape was something that was given to mean something and people had to understand that this is what the shape and color meant. It is completely arbitrary. Appropriation is important here because they took the symbol and color and made it into something that symbolized homosexuality. Discourses in place is also important because they made it a symbol in concentration camps, and it would not have made sense to others outside of the camps unless taught by someone else.

    #4 People understand different signs to mean different things. This is why discourse in places is important. One sign may mean something to you and something completely different or nothing at all to another culture. You must learn what certain signs mean and we can learn from indexicality thatwe must learn what the sign means and understand what the symbols are either visually or verbally, such as spoken language.

  2. (1) The Pink triangle is both a symbol and an index. It is a symbol because its meaning was (in the first image) and is (in the second) derived arbitrary by those who decided to use it. It is an index as its meaning is adjudicated to whomever or wherever it is placed. In this case, the appropriation of the sign initiates a discourse in place in that it adopts a new meaning and a new target for the meaning intended – when used in San Francisco by the gay community, as a memorial of homosexual oppression and an affirmation of the gay community in the city, and perhaps in general; when used on prisoners in Nazi Germany, as a marker that that prisoner was a homosexual and perhaps to accentuate their otherness and marginalization. This teaches us that signs are double-edged swords, that their meaning can be reversed in such a way as to signify the opposite of that which was initially intended.
    (2) I would say the statue is an icon; however, as with any relative science (not intended to be contradictory), there are many possibilities for saying and or using it as a symbol. For example, if we were to interpret that by not having a shirt on and by wearing feathers on his head the symbol means that the person or group of persons the statue represents is or are primitive savages, at any rate, uncivilized. That being said, I deem the statue an icon because it is a direct representation of the stereotypical image of, I suppose, a certain individual of a certain tribe of Native Americans. The indexical element in the statue is inter alia the writing on it of the word howe, which may indicate that ‘Native Americans welcome you’. The word can also be a symbolic feature of the sign, which simply means “hello”. Finally, by using a stereotypical image of Native Americans of ‘back-in-the-day’ and not one attune with the times, stereotypical or not, suggests that these peoples are still or should still be viewed as inferior savages.
    (3) The “caution” sign is both a symbol and an icon. For the word caution is a symbol that draws whomever driving by to take caution in what the iconic element represents. The iconic element is the image of a family crossing the freeway. It is also an index in that it signifies that it is there, at that point, and perhaps further on the freeway, that drivers should have caution of the crossing family. The sign could have been set up by the American boarder patrol to either recruit help from American citizens to report illegal aliens, or to prevent them a headache in case they run illegal aliens over, or for the safety of those who might cross, whether aliens or not; or by the Mexican boarder control for similar reasons.
    (4) The act of appropriation is one that complicates our understanding of signs since the sign comes out of its original context to another, which may be very different, and in that its meaning is transformed. Simply, that where signs are may make vary who they are speaking to and who put them there, as is the case of the last image, which could have been placed by the Mexican boarder patrol or the American boarder control. There is no evidence in the picture to definitely suggest one or the other, it could be both as far as we know through the image.

  3. #3. The road sign is a index because it is telling you to be careful of people running threw the traffic to cross the border. The reason for this sign is a caution for pedestrians that are either trying to come into the United States bypassing the border crossings or trying to get back into their country after working in the States. I believe that the U.S. did because when you are driving and trying to control your car if someone jumps out in front of the car it will be hard to stop and an accident might occur. I feel that both sides will benefit because the driver will become more cautious of the rate of speed and their should be less. accidents.

    #4 Everyone benefits from the use of signs, it’s just that some signs have a double meaning to them. Like in question one the pink arrow on the hill. Does the arrow mean that below the arrow in the valley that this were the homosexuals is in this town? Or it could be just apart of someone’s landscape.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s