Daniel Chandler

Daniel Chandler

Daniel Chandler (born 1952) is a British visual semiotician based (since 2001) at the department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University (where he has taught since 1989). His best-known publication is Semiotics: The Basics (Routledge: 1st edn 2002, 2nd edn 2007), which is frequently used as a basis for University courses in semiotics,[1][2][3] and the online version 'Semiotics for Beginners' (online since 1995).[4] He has a particular interest in the visual semiotics of gender and advertising.

Trained as a schoolteacher at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Chandler began his career teaching English in middle and high school classrooms in the 1970s and 1980s. He adopted a progressive, constructivist philosophy of education at a time when microcomputers were first introduced into the classroom. Resisting the hyped image of computing in education as a boon to instructional productivity,[5][6][7][8] Chandler recognized the computer as a tool for learning, but he rejected a prevailing objectivism that considered data as information, and information as knowledge. He held a constructivist view that data is translated into information by human beings, not computers, and humans negotiate the meaning of information by means of dialog and discussion (Chandler, 1990a). The computer, for Chandler, was not a teaching machine, but a medium of expression for young learners.[9] His early adoption of computers in the classroom led to the publication of several authored and edited texts related to computing in education.[10] He left the classroom in 1981 and set up an independent consultancy, notably serving as a design consultant for Acornsoft on the development of educational software[11] for use by the BBC.[12]

In 1989, Chandler returned to academia, joining the Education department at Aberystwyth University. His initial role as a lecturer in educational technology soon shifted to that of a lecturer in media theory, and in 2001 he moved to the department of Theatre, Film, and Television Studies as a lecturer in Media and Communication Studies.

His (1993) dissertation on 'The Experience of Writing' focused on the phenomenology of writing. That work led to the (1995) text, 'The Act of Writing'[13] which he posted freely on the World Wide Web. Where the tendency of most authors had been to withhold their work from online access for multiple reasons,[14] Chandler was never so inhibited. Self publishing 'The Act of Writing' was one of multiple experiments that he launched in an exploration of the Web's possibilities as a medium for teaching. In 1994 he began placing lecture materials online for use by his own students. This practice of open access proved successful and rewarding. As the richness of this material evolved in the ensuing months, and as the population of Internet users exploded in the mid 1990s, Chandler's site quickly attracted an international audience of students, scholars, and mediaphiles hungry for rewarding academic content.[15][16][17][18][19][20] The MCS Web[21] offered tangible content that went beyond the typical outlines, bibliographies and promotional material hosted on most academic and commercial sites of the time. The Media and Communications Studies site established itself as a premier online academic resource for theoretical and educational material in the fields of Rhetoric, Communication Studies, Semiotics, Media, and Contemporary Philosophy.

Chandler's teaching has straddled the spectrum of communication studies, though a significant focus of his work has centered on contemporary philosophies of communication, and specifically on Semiotics. Chandler's initial frustration as a lecturer was the severe lack of lucid and cogent introductory texts on the subject (Chandler, 2002, p. xv). This led him to prepare a series of materials on semiotics, written in a language and style that would be comprehensible to his own undergraduate students. He placed these lectures on the World Wide Web to augment the already rich set of openly accessible materials that he had prepared for his students. Over time, this set of lectures took the form of an online book, Semiotics for Beginners.[22] The text attracted the attention of numerous other professors in search of materials to augment their own lectures. Most notably, Chandler credits the philosopher A. C. Grayling for encouraging him to submit his online work for print publication. The first edition of Semiotics: the Basics[23] was published by Routledge in 2002. Routledge released a second edition[24] in 2007.


  • Chandler, Daniel (1982) ‘The potential of the microcomputer in the English classroom’. In Anthony Adams (Ed.) New Directions in English Teaching. Lewes: Falmer Press, pp. 79–94
  • Chandler, Daniel (Ed) (1983) Exploring English with Microcomputers. London: Council for Educational Technology
  • Chandler, Daniel (1984a) Young Learners and the Microcomputer. Milton Keynes: Open University Press
  • Chandler, Daniel (1984b) ‘Microcomputers and the English teacher’. In Colin Terry (Ed.) Using Microcomputers in Schools. London: Croom Helm, pp. 129–138
  • Chandler, Daniel and Stephen Marcus (Eds) (1985) Computers and Literacy. Milton Keynes: Open University Press
  • Chandler, Daniel (1986) ‘Words which dance in light’. In Tim O’Shea and Eileen Scanlon (Eds.): Educational Computing. London: John Wiley
  • Chandler, Daniel (1987a) ‘Are we ready for word processors?’, English in Australia 79: 11-17
  • Chandler, Daniel (1987b) ‘Kirjoittamisen teknologian kehitys vaikuttaa opetukseen’ (Finnish article on computers and communication in education). In Matti Sinko (Ed.) Koulu Tietoyhteiskuntaan. Helsinki: Aidenkielen Opettajain Liitto, pp. 92–100
  • Chandler, Daniel (1990a) 'The educational ideology of the computer', British Journal of Educational Technology 21(3) [September 1990]: 165-74
  • Chandler, Daniel (1990b) ‘Do the write thing?’ (Authors and the Word Processor), Electric Word 17 [January/February]: 27-30
  • Chandler, Daniel (1992a) 'The Purpose of the Computer in the Classroom', In John Beynon & Hughie Mackay (Eds) Technological Literacy and the Curriculum. Lewes: Falmer, pp. 171–96
  • Chandler, Daniel (1992b) 'The phenomenology of writing by hand', Intelligent Tutoring Media 3(2/3): 65-74
  • Chandler, Daniel (1993) 'Writing strategies and writers' tools', English Today: The International Review of the English Language 9(2): 32-8; republished in David Wray (Ed) (2004) Literacy: Major Themes in Education, Vol. 3, Writing: Processes and Teaching. London: Routledge, pp. 110–19
  • Chandler, Daniel (1994) 'Who needs suspended inscription?', Computers and Composition 11(3): 191-201
  • Chandler, Daniel (1995a) The Act of Writing: A Media Theory Approach. Aberystwyth: Prifysgol Cymru. ISBN 978-0903878449
  • Chandler, Daniel (1995b) 'Notes on the Gaze'
  • Chandler, Daniel (1995c) 'Technological or Media Determinism'
  • Chandler, Daniel (1996) 'Shaping and Being Shaped: Engaging with Media', CMC Magazine (February)
  • Chandler, Daniel (1997a) 'An Introduction to Genre Theory'
  • Chandler, Daniel (1997b) 'Children's Understanding of What's "Real" on TV: A Review of the Literature', Journal of Educational Media 23(1): 67-82
  • Chandler, Daniel (1998) Semiótica para Principiantes (‘Semiotics for Beginners’ translated by Vanessa Hogan Vega and Iván Rodrigo Mendizábal). Quito: Ediciones Abya-Yala/Escuela de Comunicación Social de la Universidad Politéchnica Salesiana
  • Chandler, Daniel and Dilwyn Roberts-Young (2000) 'The Construction of Identity in the Personal Home Pages of Adolescents in Wales', Welsh Journal of Education 9(1): 78-90
  • Chandler, Daniel and Merris Griffiths (2000) 'Gender-Differentiated Production Features in Toy Commercials', Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 44(3): 503-20
  • Chandler, Daniel (2002/2007) Semiotics: The Basics, Routledge, London, UK, 1st edn 2002. ISBN 0-415-36375-6; 2nd edn 2007 ISBN 978-0-415-36375-4
  • Chandler, Daniel (2004) 'Osobne web-stranice i stvaranje identiteta na webu' (Personal Home Pages and the Construction of Identities on the Web, in Croatian). In Reana Senjkovic & Iva Plese (Eds.) Etnografije Interneta. Zagreb: Institut za Etnologiuu i Folkloristiku Ibis Grafika, pp. 219–235
  • Chandler, Daniel and Merris Griffiths (2004) 'Who is the Fairest of them All? Gendered readings of Big Brother 2 (UK)' In Ernest Mathijs & Janet Jones (Eds.) (2004) Big Brother International: Format, Critics and Publics. London: Wallflower Press, pp. 40–61
  • Chandler, Daniel (2005a) 'Identities Under Construction'. In Janet Maybin and Joan Swann (Eds) (2006) The Art of English: Everyday Creativity. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 303–10
  • Chandler, Daniel (2005b) Entries on Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, markedness, paradigm and syntagm, Ferdinand de Saussure, semiotics, sign, signifier and signified. In John Protevi (Ed.) (2005) Edinburgh Dictionary of Continental Philosophy. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press
  • Chandler, Daniel (2008) 'Advertising'. In Glen Creeber (Ed) The Television Genre Book (2nd Edn). London: Palgrave Macmillan/BFI, pp. 178–180
  • Chandler, Daniel and Rod Munday (2011) A Dictionary of Media and Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press


  1. ^ "Master's Programme in Language and Culture in Europe". Linköping University. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26. http://web.archive.org/web/20071226131720/http://www.liu.se/isk/gradschool/master/programme.html. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  2. ^ "EDCI 508A - Semiotic Inquiry in Education". University of British Columbia. http://www.ccfi.educ.ubc.ca/courses/scottgoble.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-06. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Semiotics and Cultural Research Methods". University of Vaasa. Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20080213211314/http://www.uwasa.fi/ics/studies/course-descriptions/. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  4. ^ Chandler, Daniel. "Semiotics for Beginners". Aberystwyth University. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  5. ^ Cuban (2001) Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom. University of California Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=sdSutyVQfzYC&dq=larry+cuban+oversold+and+underused&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=cv5uS71LhtCyA-7KzLIN&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  6. ^ Iacono & Kling (1995) "Computerization Movements and Tales of Technological Utopianism". Academic Press. http://www.virtualschool.edu/mon/Academia/TechnicalUtopias.txt. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  7. ^ Postman (1993), Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology, Vintage Books
  8. ^ Roszak (1980), The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High-tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking, University of California Press 
  9. ^ Chandler (1984) Young Learners and the Microcomputer, Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 
  10. ^ see Bibliography: Chandler (1982, 1983, 1984a, 1984b, 1985, 1986, 1987a, 1987b, 1990a, 1992a)
  11. ^ "educational software". http://www.bbcmicro.net/old-8bs/elecgame/workshop.htm. 
  12. ^ "BBC". http://www.bbcmicrogames.com/acornsoft.html. 
  13. ^ "The Act of Writing". http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/act/act.html. 
  14. ^ Harnad, S. (1997) "How to Fast-Forward Serials to the Inevitable and the Optimal for Scholars and Scientists.". Serials Librarian 30: 73-81. http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Papers/Harnad/harnad97.learned.serials.html. 
  15. ^ "Voice of the Shuttle". Alan Liu. http://vos.ucsb.edu/browse.asp?id=3657. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  16. ^ "Media Studies: UC Berkely Library". http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/masscomm/masscommweb.html. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  17. ^ December, John (1996) World Wide Web Unleashed, Sams Publishing 
  18. ^ Milhorn, Jim (1999) Student's Companion to the World Wide Web, Scarecrow Press 
  19. ^ Barton and Beck (2005) Get Set for Communication Studies, Edinburgh Press 
  20. ^ Marie Monteagudo. "MCS: The Media and Communications Studies Site". http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Functions/alarev.html. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  21. ^ "MCS Web". Archived from the original on 1999-01-17. http://web.archive.org/web/19990117032757/http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dgc/welcome.html. 
  22. ^ "Semiotics for Beginners". http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html. 
  23. ^ Semiotics: the Basics. http://books.google.com/books?id=UN_TP4_LD2MC&printsec=frontcover&dq=daniel+chandler&sig=R_VLMAb3cwqeIcAtfrblFzpX7cg. 
  24. ^ "second edition". http://www.routledge.com/books/Semiotics-The-Basics-isbn9780415363761. 

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