2017 Steve Campsall


The beauty of this theory is that it can be applied to any kind of text to reveal how meanings are being created and shaped - and to show how some meanings are deeply ideological in nature, sometimes reinforcing ways of thinking that lead to a less than equal society. Media texts, fiction, non-fiction, drama and, very importantly, poetry all rely on the use of binary opposition to help shape and create meaning.

Binaries operate in so many ways. Take the red in the Virgin logo below. If you think about it a cultural opposite, or binary, of the solid, primary colour red could be said to be, for example, a non-solid colour - perhaps, grey? Or a different primary colour, perhaps green?

Simply by mentally switching to the binary opposite of any word, phrase or image you will easily be able to see how the full strength of meaning is being created. Why do you think Sir Richard Branson chose red for his company's logo?