© 2017 Steve Campsall

BINARY OPPOSITION

The above two logos are another example of images in which meaning is reinforced and shaped through the power of binary opposition. An obvious feature of the two logos, for example, is their differing use of colour. Let's look at how binary opposition can reveal how meaning is being shaped and signified.

Feature IBM Apple
Use of colour two dark colours many rainbow colours
Connotations cold, logical, business like warm, human, fun, psychedelic

Here are a few everyday words that depend upon binary opposition to reinforce the meaning they create in particular contexts. You should be able to see that the meaning of each might reasonably be called ideologically loaded. Consider what meaning you apply to each and what kind of binary opposite helps shape this meaning. Which side of each binary pair is positively ‘marked’ and which is negatively marked? You will need to reflect on what the words mean in their typical social, i.e. ideological sense.

‘Cool’ Working class
‘Hard’ Successful
'Left-wing' Lazy
Bright Dull
Active Passive

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