The semiotic interpretations of traffic policing

    14-May-2022
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Paojakhup [email protected]
Contd from previous issue
Therefore, a keen interest in understanding traffic issues on the roads is being induced from a semiotic approach.
Goods & Service Providers
This responsible cop, Mr. Vaiphei reminds us of the science of semiotics in order to study road infrastructure otherwise known as communication development.
The theoretical contributions of Ferdinand Saussure, et al have a lot to do with infrastructure development in so far as road mobility is concerned. Roads are a public utility where pedestrians use them for work, walk, study, recreation and other activities of daily living providing a harmonious and safe way for people to move either on foot, by car, bicycle, public or private transport services.
To determine the safe or unsafe mobility of pedestrians on the roads by any medium, the semiotic interpretations of signifier and the signified come into picture. The semiotic interpretation based on the traffic personnel or a traffic light system as green-amber-red or red-amber-green light is the most reliable form to determine whether the road is a dangerous place or not for users.
It is high time all and sundry shunned the notion of Dominant Paradigm for development communication to occur which was prominent post-World War II. The emerging alternatives stress on community participation for social change. In a dominant paradigm, participation is almost absent while in State dominated space, it is limited to listening to the State. According to Jurgen Habermas, in the alternative paradigm, a public sphere is created for more access to communication tools and voice. Jurgen Habermas is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. This new paradigm is likely to be initiated by CSOs and NGOs, etc. in tandem with State to ensure an all-round participatory development. State should not muzzle responsible citizens in decision making processes, more so in this age of social media like FB, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc. Rendering them unheard of their voices would entail development ramifications, and this is called Voice Poverty. According to Jo Tacchi, voice poverty is “the inability of people to influence the decisions that affect their lives, and the right in that decision making”. Tacchi is a development researcher at Loughborough University, England.
In this way, when a signifier and the signified maintain their mutual relationship and walk the talk, there comes about transactional communication which stands for a consensual dialogue between service providers and the stakeholders or beneficiaries.
Thus, time and again, I pay salute to the traffic cop who deserves a pat on the back for his sincere duty. No less is my heartfelt gratitude as a responsible citizen to the CMO. The ripple effect was seen in several spots on the roads the very next day where traffic police organized a cleanliness drive than to carrying out vehicle frisking.
Lastly, but not the least, the road users in at least district headquarters will feel more secure if the traffic lights are installed replacing physical presence of the cops using hand gestures and sound toiling all day long. Doing this would ensure a better and meaningful relationship between signifier (automatic signal lights) and the signified (what it indicates about). This would be a good sign of communication developments Aka road infrastructure development.
(The writer is currently pursuing an MA in Media Studies in the University of Hyderabad, Telangana. He may be reached at [email protected] or 6009962948)