... "For ideology operates, not so much as a coherent system of statements imposed on a population from above, but rather through a complex series of mechanisms whereby meaning is mobilised in the discursive practices of everyday life for the maintenance of relations of domination. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, to search for ways in which the theory of ideology can be linked with methods for the analysis of the discursive forms in which ideology is expressed." (Thompson 1984:64). Some introductions exceed their generic purpose. This will be such an introduction. In it I want to range beyond the specific papers contained in this collection and to explore work done since the conference. This work which is related to issues raised in the conference papers, suggests directions in which a semiotic theory of language and ideology might lie.