Landscapes of Global Capital
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The handshake of capital
Precapital deals
What are we doin' here?
The global handshake
Signifying possibility
Gestures of human concern
Hands of parental care
Hypersignifiers of expressivity
The finger of knowledge
The panoptic finger

Cigna03-99 Dean Witter04-99

Cigna, Dean Witter, and the American Plastics Council use the infant's hand being held by an adult hand. The adult hand represents affection and protection, the relationship presented as paralleling the relationship between the corporation and us. Just as parents strive always to protect their children so the corporation intimates that it will always be there at our side when needed. Ironically, this metaphor suggests we are powerless infants in relation to corporations.

American Plastics Council01-98

Microsoft adds a mouse to this relationship. Here an infant's hand rides the adult hand, learning mouse skills at a precocious age and a new tradition is born. The image speaks to the future.

When abstracted from the lives of real people, the meaning that this signifier carries is inflated - romanticized, the way we want to remember our relations with our children - our babies. No other image that can be shown carries more emotional currency. We might describe this kind of scene as "precious." The image also suggests a soothing moment and in this sense, in addition to connoting safety and care, it has a therapeutic feel.

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Signifying Clusters

Structural Frames

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© Copyright 1998-2003
Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey