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The Semiotics of Trump

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a talk at Semiofest 2017 in Toronto about how applied semiotics and Culture Mapping can help us analyze political discourse

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The Semiotics of Trump

  1. 1. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 1 Cultural Dissociation andthe Semioticsof Trump @timstock
  2. 2. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 2 hellodarkness, myoldfriend
  3. 3. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 3 Trumpism is the mirror that reveals a societal breakdown of shared meaning and aspiration. Trumpembodiesour culturaldissociation
  4. 4. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 4scenarioDNA Cass R. Sunstein, "Misfearing: A Reply" (John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics Working Paper No. 274, 2006) Art by Simple Organic Life current socio-economic events have diminished our ability to make reflective decisions and engage in exploratory activities. acognitiveframeworkfor America’sfadingexceptionalism
  5. 5. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 5scenarioDNA “man becomes the sex organs of the machine world” dissociationcoupleswith technologicalintimacy - Marshall McLuhan
  6. 6. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 6scenarioDNA politicalmemesepitomizenewmetaverse ofdisembodiedemotionallanguage language is weaponized for high emotion and propagation.
  7. 7. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 7 “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” - Buckminster Fuller livingryvs.weaponry
  8. 8. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 8scenarioDNA civicengagementasa culturalsystem the individual the state res publica rightslaws activismpolicy healthy societies cultivate a holistic and participatory system of meaning creation.
  9. 9. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 9 culturemappinghelpsusstructuresocial relationshipsofmeaningcreation zeitgeist identity ritualsymbol Static Progressive Analytic Expressive cultural saturation spreading the message setting the language wiring the behavior what we share what we know res publica pattern of aspiration pattern of dissent
  10. 10. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 10 wedevelopedadatavisualizationdashboard toaidanalysisofTrump’sfirst100Days https://100days.scenariodna.com
  11. 11. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 11 ourmethodologyrevealsasystemof signifiers,subjects,codesandarchetypes 19, 314 words 863 signifiers 858 tweets 100 days @realDonaldTrump & @POTUS
  12. 12. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 12 framework control promote connect expose judge semioticshelpsstructuretheinterplay ofmachinelearningandexpertanalysis wisdom faith codes subjects archetypes a hierarchy of signifiers, subjects, codes and archetypes. signifiers
  13. 13. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 13 8% 26% 18% 47% Static Progressive Analytic Expressive wescoredandmeasuredthelanguage andvisualizedhowarchetypeswere emergingfromrecurringsignifiers
  14. 14. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 14 taxonomiesemergein relationtosubjectareas the expression and absence of expression around subjects frames a clear narrative for Trump
  15. 15. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 15 storyshapesrevealpatternsinlanguage thatrepresentemotionandideology flatline flatline moderate volatility high volatility flatline narratives vs. high volatility narratives.
  16. 16. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 16 adangerouscocktailofconstant hyperbolicoutrageandpromotion Trump’s use of language and rituals satisfies a constant cycle of cognitive dissonance.
  17. 17. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 17 moral-emotional words are more likely to go viral on social media the(unfortunate)efficiency ofechochambers New York University Department of Psychology study 2017
  18. 18. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 18 how the language is received, interpreted and retold transcends the actual words. MAGAispure politicalsemiotics
  19. 19. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 19 Trump’swallperfectlyframesa weaponizeduseoflanguage the language is chosen to trigger an emotional and ideological response and maximize the greatest amount of sharing.
  20. 20. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 20scenarioDNA fear technology becomes the driver of disembodied ideologies that don’t require investment in belief and action. bewaretheriseof technology-inducedextremerituals ALS Ice Bucket Challenge 2015
  21. 21. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 21scenarioDNA gesture has become disembodied from actual meaning theillusionofafunctioning andhealthystate
  22. 22. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 22scenarioDNA a primer for the potential artificial state we must better understand these cognitive frameworks and how they are critical to a healthy functioning democracy. Art by Vincent Cacciotti
  23. 23. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 23 itisa(seriously)great timeforsemiotics
  24. 24. anthropology meets data science|scenarioDNA 24 literacyisfreedom. @timstock https://100days.scenarionda.com https://everythingiknow.scenarionda.com Visualizing 100 Days (Donald Trump) Visualizing Everything I Know (Buckminster Fuller)

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