Semiotics and Verbal Texts

How the News Media Construct a Crisis

  • Jane Gravells

Part of the Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse book series (PSDS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Written Language and Semiotics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jane Gravells
      Pages 27-42
  3. A Barthesian Conceptualisation of Written Language

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 43-43
    2. Jane Gravells
      Pages 45-74
    3. Jane Gravells
      Pages 75-82
    4. Jane Gravells
      Pages 89-100
    5. Jane Gravells
      Pages 101-110
    6. Jane Gravells
      Pages 191-197
  4. A Peircean Conceptualisation of Written Language

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 199-199
    2. Jane Gravells
      Pages 201-212
    3. Jane Gravells
      Pages 213-240
  5. Concluding Thoughts

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 241-241
    2. Jane Gravells
      Pages 243-248
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 249-272

About this book


This book offers an innovative approach to analysing written texts, grounded in principles of semiotics. Envisaging whole news media representations as ‘signs’, and using the real-world example of the BP Deepwater Horizon crisis, the author demonstrates how business crises are constructed through language. Gravells identifies patterns of language which show a progression from one kind of ‘current news’ representation to a different kind of coverage.  This coverage positions the crisis as having symbolic and conventional meaning within varied social contexts, including the arts, business and the environment. Using a wealth of examples from the BP story to illustrate her practical research approach, Gravells draws ‘language maps’ of different phases of the crisis representation, showing how an early ‘iconic’ phase of representation moves through an ‘indexical’ to a ‘symbolic’ phase, and projects a return to a ‘naturalised icon’.  This book will be of interest to researchers and students of semiotics, those exploring research methods and linguists with an interest in business and media communications.


Media representation Crisis communication BP Deepwater Horizon Business studies Semiotics communication construction crisis discourse essay India linguistics media media studies nation semiotics social science sociolinguistics

Authors and affiliations

  • Jane Gravells
    • 1
  1. 1.Aston UniversityBirminghamUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-58748-0
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-58750-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site