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Telling ‘herstory’: A visual semiotic study on meanings of representations of women in Spanish Civil War illustrations.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns illustrations of the Spanish Civil War period representing women, and explores how the dichotomy of the term "woman" has culturally and ideologically been constructed and represented in graphic and visual form: in regard to values of each political front (National and Republican), and in regard to performing and doing gender. The works are analysed applying visual rhetoric as a method (Barthes 1964) with a deconstructive approach from an intersectional gender perspective. The concept of patriarchy (Delphy 1977; Alsop (eds.) 2002), the notion of the colonial subject (Mangini 1995), gender/sex as performative (Butler 1990, 1993, 1997), power (Focault 1982), subject de/constructions (Derrida 1982, 1991; Butler 1991, 1993, 1995), and Myth (Barthes 1957), set the theoretical basis of the study, combined with semiotics and representation/culture theories (Barthes 1957, 1964; Eco 1986; Hall 1997). The study explores how women are used to "sell" political and social ideologies as a commercial product through myth, and how the term "woman" shifts in meaning affecting the conception of "women" of the time. As a conclusion, identity production and construction happens on the basis of how women have been objectified in each image as they would have been in their social reality. Ideologies are mystified and gendered using women as the medium to convey a message beyond the political: a patriarchal one. The thesis leaves open to interpretation what it might meant to be a woman during the Spanish Civil War as women are represented in these illustrations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
Civil War, colonial subject, Deconstruction, gender, ideology, Judith Butler, meaning, Michel Focault, mother, Myth, patriarchy, power, representation, role, Roland Barthes, Spain, semiotics, visual, woman, women.
National Category
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-121959OAI: diva2:935680
Available from: 2016-11-05 Created: 2016-06-11 Last updated: 2016-11-05Bibliographically approved

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