Sémiotique de la Performance et du Succès chez Madonna
Parution en ligne de l'article de José I. Prieto-Arranz sur la sémiotique de la performance madonnienne.
«This work aims at analyzing the cultural product, or rather agent of cultural production, which is Madonna, who remains as controversial today as when she first gained notoriety almost three decades ago. As a good Irish Catholic, Steve Allen unambiguously attacked Madonna from the pages of this very journal, seeing in her nothing but a “professional prostitute” (5). In so doing, he refuses to acknowledge Madonna's unquestionable influence on contemporary popular culture. With over 300 million albums sold to date, she is arguably the world's most successful female singer, owning a conglomerate of multimedia companies (Brown 4) and having recently signed an unprecedented global partnership with the world's leading live events company that is likely to determine the way the music industry will evolve in the forthcoming years. Madonna seems to have defied all generational laws. Among her numerous followers one can find the young of the 1980s but also those of the 2000s. And this is not all: Madonna is a household name for the parents and even grandparents of the actual consumers of her products, since Madonna, rather than a singer, is a global multimedia phenomenon. This partly explains why the 1995 edition of the prestigious Cambridge International Dictionary of English quoted “Like a Virgin” to contextualize usage for its entry “Virgin” (Guilbert 82), thus acknowledging the existence of what Stephen Brown refers to as today's “economy of entertainment” (7).
This article will mostly be of a semiotic nature since, to put it simply, Madonna's output is in many respects nonverbal (Guilbert 27), pure performance, either through the videos showcasing her music or on stage on some of her world tours. It is, therefore, necessary to refer to Charles S. Peirce's well-known typology of the sign (see Hoopes) and, most particularly, what he called “iconic signs,” that is, signs in which Signifier (the sign's material manifestation) and Signified (meaning) bear a close resemblance or could even be said to appear fused (Bignell 15). (...) The figure of Madonna will be analyzed by focusing mostly (but not exclusively) on two of the themes she has traditionally touched upon in her work, namely sex and religion, which will be used to exemplify her condition as a postmodern icon. Emphasis will be placed on the period 1983–2006, although brief references will also be made to later years.»
«The Semiotics of Performance and Success in Madonna»
José I. Prieto-Arranz
The Journal of Popular Culture, Volume 45, Issue 1, pages 173–196, February 2012