Mythos und Bild. Roland Barthes’ Semiologie bildlicher Stereotypisierung

Autor: David Jöckel
[erschienen in: IMAGE 28 Themenheft (Juli 2018)]

In the reception of the works of Roland Barthes the dominance of La chambre claire has led to omit two texts that are of paramount importance for investigating the production of stereotypes through images. These two texts – The Photographic Message and The Rhetorics of the Image – analyse this kind of production with analytic and systematic rigour, orienting themselves in a much more obvious way to Barthes’ idea in the 1950s and 1960s of a general semiology that entails a critical or sociocritical dimension. In this paper I want to investigate into a field of texts that bring together these three different threads in the oeuvre of Barthes: his notion of societal myths and of a scientific mythology, the project of a general semiology, and his image- and photography-related works. I want to highlight that images have a special function towards the production of social stereotypes that lies in their denotative level. Especially images, more than texts, appear to be an objective depiction of reality, a simple denotation of what ›is‹.

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