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BAFINALIS (1) - Table of contents Introduction Introduction...

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5 Table of contents: Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 6 1. Symbols in social, linguistic and cultural contexts ................................................................ 8 1.1 Sign vs. symbol ................................................................................................................ 9 1.2 Language, Culture and Symbols .................................................................................... 13 1.3 Function of symbols ....................................................................................................... 15 2. National Symbols ................................................................................................................. 17 2.1 American national symbols ............................................................................................ 18 2.2 Predecessors of Uncle Sam ............................................................................................ 20 3. Uncle Sam ............................................................................................................................ 24 3.1 The definition in terms of denotation. ............................................................................ 24 3.2 History of Uncle Sam. .................................................................................................... 25 3.3 Two symbolic contexts of representations of Uncle Sam .............................................. 28 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................ 31 Figures: ..................................................................................................................................... 32 References ................................................................................................................................ 35 6 Introduction Many people are aware of the existence of Uncle Sam. They may have encountered with the famous I WANT YOU poster. But not many have probably thought deeper about this symbol of the United States. The curiousness in finding out who exactly this person is (was), what this figure represents, and how it became a symbol of the United States, stood behind this BA Thesis work. The first, basic step, a curious person, who wants to learn basic elements of something would do, is to consult a dictionary or an encyclopedia. This is what the Oxford Guide to British and American Culture says about Uncle Sam: He is defined as “the imaginary person who represents United States and its government” (Crowther 553). The figure of Uncle Sam, evokes number of questions. For example what exactly this unreal person, cherished by Americans, and often depicted by the rest of the world represents. What concept is behind the saying that “something is symbol of something”? This BA Thesis attempts to examine and introduce the roots, forms, concepts and the contexts of this symbolic representation and the role of Uncle Sam as a symbol of the United States of America. Also tries to give a general introduction to the concept and functions of cultural symbols. If we get back to the already mentioned definition of Oxford Guide to British and American Culture , “the imaginary person who represents United States and its government” (Crowther 553). We can say, that Uncle Sam, American national symbol, has been represented in the two main contexts, based on the function of symbol as a group identity maker and boundary marker. Uncle Sam has been viewed as representation of the government for the citizens of the United States helping them to form a relationship towards it. And also as the global representation of the United States of America. The problem of symbols is very complex one, therefore it is necessary to clarify the problem and give a general introduction to the field of semiology. First part of this BA thesis
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