Stacey Roberts

According to the textbook Critical Media, John Fiske defines the word “polysemy” is the relative openness of media text to multiple interpretations. The book used the NBC’s community as an example to polysemy because it provides a variation of programs such as sitcoms, parodies of popular narratives and diverse intersexual references into complex television programming. Leah Ceccarelli’s was a very important contributor to Polysemy. She wanted to understand how it functioned so developed three types of polysemy; resistive reading, strategic ambiguity and hermeneutic depth. Resistive reading is the active audience-based creation of textual meaning that is contrary to the meaning intended by the author’s text. For example, a person who is democratic reads an article, will analyze the article from a democratic standpoint and may conclude the article is opposing the ideals of democracy. This does not mean that the intention of the author was to discredit democracy. Strategic ambiguity is the intentional decision to craft a vague semantically rich text that is purposefully open to multiple interpretations. An example I came up with was the use of the word love, which can be interpreted in many ways. People love foods, sports, animals etc, therefore when the word love is used it can be interpreted differently. Hermenuetic depth refers to the critical recognition of multiple meaning in a text as a source of its overall meaning. For, example when reading your textbook, there are many theorists point of view based on the discussion of one topic.


1. Since the word love can be used as an example of polysemy, what is the different between polysemy and homonyms?

2. Is any of the three types of polysemy used more in media? Why?


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