Semiotic remediation and resemiotisation as discourse practice in Isidingo: a multi-semiotic analysis
The problem explored relates to the dearth in studies exploring semiotic resources other than language in the study of mediated discourses in the media; public broadcasting in particular. Gilje (2010) laments that although manipulation of different genres and modalities has accelerated in the production of movies, documentaries and soapies due to developments in media technologies, there have been very few studies on the subject. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the Isidingo producers use new technologies and editing tools to merge and/or manipulate different semiotic material in the production of Isidingo. I investigated how different stories and narratives are infused into the storylines and how the producers are re-figuring socio-cultural-histories as semiotic resources in the production of Isidingo. This involved a determination of how storylines and other semiotic resources are transformed in Isidingo for aesthetic and communicative effect. The idea was to explore the socio-historical trajectory as semiotic material in time and space. In addition, I explored how the producers draw on and manipulate different genres (e.g. politics, advertisements, legal drama) which are often infused in the storylines in the production of the soap opera. The focus here was on the blurring of generic boundaries as Isidingo producers’ use of multiple genres within the soap opera for aesthetic and communicative effect. I also explored how local and international topical issues are re-contextualised, intertextualised and resemiotised in the local Isidingo storylines. The idea was to do a multi-semiotic analysis of Isidingo as a soap opera, focusing on the reproduction of semiotic material. This entailed an ethnographic approach to data collection and analysis, which included nine randomly selected aired episodes of the soap opera. I found that this soap opera heavily depends on societal discourses such as sociocultural- histories, language-in-use and popular culture as its resource for composing believable plotlines. These everyday discourses are strategically used by the producers to recreate reality into the fictional world by demonstrating semiotic remediation and resemiotisation as discourse practices. I conclude that the producers recycle issues from the real world and recontextualise them into the fictional world in order to evoke viewer involvement (transparent immediacy) and to infuse multiple media (hypermediacy) for extended meanings. In addition to this, technology such as gadgetry, social networks and software are reconstructed in order to subliminally advertise these products to the viewers. I also conclude that the producers of Isidingo treat language in the soap opera as social practice. This makes it possible for the producers to create characters with multiple identities to depict different social roles and voices. By bringing in real life aspects, the soap opera serves as both fiction and reality.