Billboards and Farmland : Semiotic Analysis of Western Wisconsin’s Landscape in Terms of Welcoming Values
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A Semiotic Landscape refers to “any (public) space with visible inscription made through deliberate human intervention and meaning making”. Therefore, any landscape where humans have created some sort of meaningful image or sign, is a semiotic landscape, and can be interpreted through a visual semiotic framework and a semiotic landscape analysis. As defined previously in ‘“Is Tolerant Good Enough?” Eau Claire and the Practice of Welcomingness,’ welcoming places are where people feel they belong, have a stake and say, and don’t feel threatened. Continuation of this research resulted in questions of looking just outside Eau Claire: could welcomingness be viewed on the landscape? Could signs be interpreted as messages of inclusion or exclusion? This project seeks to analyze and evaluate messages shared on the driven landscape for welcoming (or unwelcoming) values, as signs on the landscape theoretically relate back to the values of an adjacent community or neighborhood. Inspired by cultural landscapes studies of the 1970s like Donald W. Meinig and Peirce Lewis, this research seeks to add to the literature on semiotic and linguistic landscapes. This study was completed during the months of July and August of 2018. As this research relied on site-specific data, many of the signs analyzed as a part of this study have since been replaced by new advertisements. Like other types of human landscapes, semiotic landscapes are continually changing, and can represent an interesting snapshot into a community consciousness.
Sociology & social history