A Semiotic Analysis of Gender Discursive Patterns in Pakistani Television Commercials

  •  Muhammad Nasir    


The study is multidisciplinary that ventures into the domains of semiotics, linguistics and cultural studies. Media has become one of the most viable social institutions of disseminating information to a wider audience. It has got power to (re)frame the ideology of larger audience through its visual/linguistic content and to pave the way to social change. The current study aims to investigate the manifestation of gender discursive patterns in the Pakistani television commercials. This study draws its theoretical foundation on the theory of semiotics propounded by Dyer (1982) in her book Advertising as Communication. Semiotics is conceived an appropriate tool for the critical inquiry of the televised commercials because of its wide ranging acceptability and reliability in the meaning making process. Williamson (1978), Dyer (1982) and Jhally (1990) not only recommended but they also practically employed semiotics as a tool of investigation for critically examining the meaning making process in the commercials that enhances the reliability and validity of semiotics as a tool of inquiry. The data for the current study comprises television commercials broadcasted on famous Pakistani television channels. The sampling technique is based on non-probability purposive sampling. The rationale of choosing purposive sampling technique is to include only those commercials which reflect gender representation. The findings of the study highlight that the commercials present layers of meanings via semiotic modes at symbolic level where men and women are displayed in stereotypical manner. The existing gender narratives in the Pakistani commercials subscribes to patriarchal structures. The study presents recommendations about the change in the content of the televised material and also highlights the unexplored avenues which can be brought under considerations by the future researchers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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