Weighty Issues: Semiotic Notes on Dieting as a Secular Ritual

Joachim Knuf, John Caughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diet advertisements emphasize a number of core themes, such as self-image, health, pride, and control. A semiotic analysis of pictorial and textual elements in four exemplars indicates how they construct new selves around socially desirable body images by suggesting a sequence of substitutions through which readers enter the virtual realities presented in these advertisements. Moreover, the role of ritualization of the dieting process is discussed as providing not only an external locus of control but also an element of self-referentiality to safeguard ambiguous dieting outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages19
JournalHealth communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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