conTEXT Project 2.1

The phrase “we are not responsible” comes from Facebook’s privacy policy. When the phrase is placed into different contexts, certain meanings and interpretations may change.

Context One:
Connotative Meaning: Graffiti artists are not responsible people
Denotative Meaning: Someone is not responsible
Prototype: Rebellion
Constructionist Meaning: Spray paint is not illegal. However, because it is used in the illegal activity of graffiti, we as a culture might view a spray painted message as illegal or rebellious.
Categorical Meaning: Spray paint and concrete walls are associated with the illegal activity of graffiti done typically by young people.

Context Two:

Connotative Meaning: Corporations claim to not be responsible for detrimental outcomes
Denotative Meaning: Someone is not responsible
Prototype: Business
Constructionist Meaning: When the phrase “we are not responsible” is used in context of a business it takes on a specific meaning. In the U.S., it seems like there are constantly news stories about people suing businesses. As a result, businesses have to be careful to specifically warn people that they are not responsible in order to avoid legal issues.
Categorical Meaning: The projector, the office chair, and the bland walls are all categorized with a corporate or office job in a business.

Context Three:

Connotative Meaning: People are not responsible with the environment.
Denotative Meaning: Someone is not responsible.
Prototype: Activism
Constructionist Meaning: Environmental issues are an important topic right now in the U.S. so when we see the word “responsible” in a natural context, we think about these issues. We think about being responsible with natural resources.
Categorical Meaning: We group outdoor scenesĀ and picket signs together with environmental activism. The white posts and grass could also be interpreted as fenced-in yard that separates people from actually viewing their environment.


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