Icons, Appropriations, and the Co-production of Meaning

  • Robert Hariman
  • John Louis Lucaites
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


Iconic photographs identify important problems and features of audience reception. Hariman and Lucaites analyze how the meaning and effects of iconic photographs are produced through an afterlife of appropriation across a wide array of media. In this chapter they identify three modalities of appropriation: establishing iconic status through design features, repetition, and misrecognition; tracking circulation and patterns of interpretation; and analysis of public culture. They demonstrate basic protocols for analyzing appropriations in a case study of the photograph of the US flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II: these protocols include aesthetic conventions as they animate civic performance through the interplay of semiotic transcriptions and emotional scenarios that function to mediate constitutive contradictions in the public culture.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Hariman
    • 1
  • John Louis Lucaites
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Communication StudiesNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EnglishIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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