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alignment


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1. (semiotics) The relation of one pair of culturally widespread oppositional concepts (such as male/female) to another pair (such as mind/body)—reflected in the thematic structure of texts and/or cultural practices as revealed by structural analysis. Lévi-Strauss illustrated a human tendency to relate such oppositions to each other by analogical thinking. If we imagine commonly paired oppositions as a horizontal dimension, then associating such pairs with each other generates vertical relationships also—forming a conceptual basis for cultural codes and myths. An advertising campaign launched in 2005 for the washing powder Persil in the UK was ‘dirt is good’. This provocative inversion of the Christian folklore that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ can be seen as part of a deliberate strategy of conceptual realignment which has a distinctly Lévi-Straussean flavour.

2. In document design, the layout of the text on the page or onscreen—left- or right-alignment referring to which side of a textual block is uniformly aligned with a margin on that side (the other side being consequently ‘ragged’).

Subjects: Media Studies.


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