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Displaying: 1-20 of 35 documents


1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Oliver Laas Dialogue in Peirce, Lotman, and Bakhtin: A comparative study
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The notion of dialogue is foundational for both Juri Lotman and Mikhail Bakhtin. It is also central in Charles S. Peirce’s semeiotics and logic. While there are several scholarly comparisons of Bakhtin’s and Lotman’s dialogisms, these have yet to be compared with Peirce’s semeiotic dialogues. This article takes tentative steps toward a comparative study of dialogue in Peirce, Lotman, and Bakhtin. Peirce’s understanding of dialogue is explicated, and compared with both Lotman’s as well as Bakhtin’s conceptions. Lotman saw dialogue as the basic meaning-making mechanism in the semiosphere. The benefits and shortcomings of reconceptualizing the semiosphere on the basis of Peircean and Bakhtinian dialogues are weighed. The aim is to explore methodological alternatives in semiotics, not to challenge Lotman’s initial model. It is claimed that the semiosphere qua model operating with Bakhtinian dialogues is narrower in scope than Lotman’s original conception, while the semiosphere qua model operating with Peircean dialogues appears to be broader in scope. It is concluded that the choice between alternative dialogical foundations must be informed by attentiveness to their differences, and should be motivated by the researcher’s goals and theoretical commitments.
2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Aleksei Semenenko Homo polyglottus: Semiosphere as a model of human cognition
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The semiosphere is arguably the most influential concept developed by Juri Lotman, which has been reinterpreted in a variety of ways. This paper returns to Lotman’s original “anthropocentric” understanding of semiosphere as a collective intellect/consciousness and revisits the main arguments of Lotman’s discussion of human vs. nonhuman semiosis in order to position it in the modern context of cognitive semiotics and the question of human uniqueness in particular. In contrast to the majority of works that focus on symbolic consciousness and multimodal communication as specifically human traits, Lotman accentuates polyglottism and dialogicity as the unique features of human culture. Formulated in this manner, the concept of semiosphere is used as a conceptual framework for the study of human cognition as well as human cognitive evolution.
3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Simon Levesque Two versions of ecosophy: Arne Nass, Felix Guattari, and their connection with semiotics
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This paper adopts a comparative approach in order to appreciate the distinct contributions of Arne Nass and Felix Guattari to ecosophy and their respective connections to semiotics. The foundational holistic worldview and dynamics ecosophy propounds show numerous connections with semiotics. The primary objective of this paper is to question the nature and value of these connections. Historically, the development of ecosophy was always faced with modelling and communication issues, which constitute an obvious common ground shared with semiotics. As a means to an end, ecosophy settled to develop a thoughtful axiology based on ecological wisdom and promote it bottom-up. Political activism notwithstanding, semiotics also deals with value: sign value and meaning. In this respect, semiotics is inherently axiological, but most often this dimension is effaced or muted. Emphasizing the axiological dimension of semiotics helps understand how dominant significations, habits, and values are established, and enlighten the crucial part it could play in the humanities and beyond by partly coalescing with ecosophy. As the complementarity of both traditions is appreciated, the plausibility of a merger is assessed. Arguably, ecosophy is axiomatized semiotics. From this novel perspective, one can see human communities as dynamically partaking in signifying processes, in a space that is at once an ecosphere, a semiosphere, and a vast political territory. As there is growing evidence that environmental degradation lessens our quality of life and the sustainability of our communities, ecosophy might help reform values and practices.
4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Marina Grishakova, Siim Sorokin Notes on narrative, cognition, and cultural evolution
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Drawing on non-Darwinian cultural-evolutionary approaches, the paper develops a broad, non-representational perspective on narrative, necessary to account for the narrative “ubiquity” hypothesis. It considers narrativity as a feature of intelligent behaviour and as a formative principle of symbolic representation (“narrative proclivity”). The narrative representation retains a relationship with the “primary” pre-symbolic narrativity of the basic orientational-interpretive (semiotic) behaviour affected by perceptually salient objects and “fits” in natural environments. The paper distinguishes between implicit narrativity (as the basic form of perceptual-cognitive mapping) of intelligent behaviour or non-narrative media, and the “narrative” as a symbolic representation. Human perceptual-attentional routines are enhanced by symbolic representations: due to its attention-monitoring and information-gathering function, narrative serves as a cognitive-exploratory tool facilitating cultural dynamics. The rise of new media and mass communication on the Web has thrown the ability of narrative to shape the public sphere through the ongoing process of negotiated sensemaking and interpretation in a particularly sharp relief.
5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Sara Cannizzaro Internet memes as internet signs: A semiotic view of digital culture
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This article argues for a clearer framework of internet-based “memes”. The science of memes, dubbed ‘memetics’, presumes that memes remain “copying units” following the popularisation of the concept in Richard Dawkins’ celebrated work, The Selfish Gene (1976). Yet Peircean semiotics and biosemiotics can challenge this doctrine of information transmission. While supporting a precise and discursive framework for internet memes, semiotic readings reconfigure contemporary formulations to the – now-established – conception of memes. Internet memes can and should be conceived, then, as habit-inducing sign systems incorporating processes involving asymmetrical variation. So, drawing on biosemiotics, Tartu-Moscow semiotics, and Peircean semiotic principles, and through a close reading of the celebrated 2011 Internet meme Rebecca Black’s Friday, this article proposes a working outline for the definition of internet memes and its applicability for the semiotic analysis of texts in new media communication.
6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Dinda L. Gorlée Intersemioticity and intertextuality: Picaresque and romance in opera
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Jakobson introduced the concept of intersemioticity as transmutation of verbal signs by nonverbal sign systems (1959). Intersemioticity generates the linguistic-and-cultural elements of intersemiosis (from without), crystallizing mythology and archetypal symbolism, and intertextuality (from within), analyzing the human emotions in the cultural situation of language-and-music aspects. The operatic example of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (1867) intertextualized the cultural trends of Scandinavia. This literary script was set to music by Grieg to make an operatic expression. After the “picaresque” adventures, Peer Gynt ends in a “romantic” revelation. Grieg’s music reworded and rephrased the script in musical verse and rhythm, following the intertextuality of Nordic folk music and Wagner’s fashionable operas. Ibsen’s Peer Gynt text has since been translated in Jakobson’s “translation proper” to other languages. After 150 years, the vocal translation of the operatic text needs the “intersemiotic translation or transmutation” to modernize the translated text and attract present-day audiences.
7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Kalevi Kull Habits – semioses – habits
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8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Ekaterina Velmezova “Czech Theory”, Czech semiotics
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9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 4
Kalevi Kull What kind of evolutionary biology suits cultural research?
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10. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Mattia Thibault Lotman and play: For a theory of playfulness based on semiotics of culture
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The aim of the article is to introduce an approach to play based on semiotics of culture and, in particular, grounded in the works and ideas of Juri Lotman. On the one hand, it provides an overview of Lotman’s works dedicated to play and games, starting from his article on art among other modelling systems, in which the phenomenon of play is treated deeply, and mentioning Lotman’s articles dedicated to various forms of play forms, such as involving dolls and playing cards. On the other hand, it applies a few Lotmanian theories and ideas to playfulness in order to shed some light on this highly debated, as well as intriguing, anthropic activity. Thus, the paper approaches some of the core questions for a play theory, such as the definition of play, the cultural role of toys and playthings, the importance of unpredictability, the position held by playfulness in the semiosphere and, finally, the differences and commonalities between play and art. Lotman’s theories and works, often integrated by other existing semiotic or ludologic perspectives offer an extremely insightful and fresh take on play and illustrate the great heuristic potential of semiotics of culture.
11. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Mari-Liis Madisson, Andreas Ventsel Autocommunicative meaning-making in online communication of the Estonian extreme right
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This article analyses the online communication of the Estonian extreme right that appears to be characterized by an echo-chamber effect as well as enclosed and hermetic meaning-making. The discussion mainly relies on the theoretical frameworks offered by semiotics of culture.One of the aims of the article is to widen the scope of understanding of autocommunicative processes that are usually related to learning, insight and innovation. The article shows the conditions in which autocommunicative processes result in closed interactions, based on reproducing stereotypes and redundant content. We detect antithetical meaning-making, an orientation towards normative (“correct”) texts and the prevalence of phatic communication as the main dominants that guide closed autocommunication. Such communication leads to polarization of dissimilar views and hinders dialogue. Our case study focuses on the discussion that arose in the context of the European Refugee Crisis that started in spring 2015.
12. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Jeoffrey Gaspard Discourse genres as determiners of discursive regularities: A case of semiotic predictability?
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This article focuses on discursive regularities that can generally be observed in text corpora produced in similar communication situations (medical interviews, political debates, teaching classes, etc.). One type of such regularities is related to the so-called ‘discourse genres’, considered as a set of tacit instructions broadly constraining the forms of utterances in a given discursive practice. Those regularities highlight the relatively regulated, non-random nature of most of our discursive practices and epitomize the necessary constrained creativity of meaning making in discourse. In this perspective, we suggest that the concepts of Thirdness and Habit, as theorized by Charles S. Peirce, can be fruitful in describing the role and importance of such regularities in our sociodiscursive life. More specifically, we believe that discourse regularities are ideal case studies if one wishes to investigate instances of predictability in semiotic (discursive) processes. Overall, we suggest that their study can be one of many research orientations through which a prediction-based scientific conception of semiotics could be applied.
13. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Igor Pilshchikov, Mikhail Trunin The Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics: A transnational perspective
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This paper seeks to situate the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics of the 1960–1980s within the larger European intellectual-historical context from which it sprang, and in which it played a vital role. Analysing the school members’ engagement with their peers throughout Europe, we outline an “entangled history” (histoire croisee) of multi-directional scientific and philosophical influence. In this perspective, we discuss the most productive concepts and methods of Tartu-Moscow semiotics in the fields of general verse theory, intertextual theory and cultural theory.
14. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Patrick Sériot Barthes and Lotman: Ideology vs culture
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Despite both being great names in semiotics, Roland Barthes and Juri Lotman have more differences than they share similarities – not only because of their different political and historico-cultural environments, but also because they do not have the same object of study: it is ‘ideology’ for Barthes, and ‘culture’ for Lotman. Thus, there is no intellectual common ground between them, yet comparing them can lead us to a more important question: what is semiotics, and what has structuralism to do with it?
15. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Pierluigi Basso Fossali From paradigm to environment: The foreign rhythm and punctual catalysis of culture
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Lotman and Barthes created two different critically oriented semiotic traditions. Both of them wen t through an evolution in their thought, moving from systematic organization to living transformations in cultural systems. This allowed them to carry out a bilateral critique of codes and identities in favour of either anonymous hybridity (Lotman) or neutrality (Barthes), where heterogeneity becomes a principle of creative “disorder”. Though quite different as regards their theoretical production, both scholars meet in their refusal to turn descriptive practices (studium) into a model of any other form of behaviour, considering that the determination of textual or institutional perimetres is not always clear. In short, Barthes and Lotman anticipated current research trends on the semiotics of practices; Barthes because of a sort of self-reflexion on the behaviour of the interpreter in front of an object, and Lotman through his analytic interest in attitudes and ways of living.Barthes’s view on writing essentially reaches Lotman’s conception of culture as a “collective person”: we are looking for traces of breathing in the life of signs. More precisely, we can assert that, in the view of both scholars, inscribing speech events in history problematizes the dynamic and asynchronous relation between the structural frame of a culture and its textual heritage. The rhythm of fashion is not a side topic in their research, but, rather, it is the clearest exemplification of a dialectic between structural projection from the outside and local introjection of forms, depending on the conditions that make a difference.
16. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Daniele Monticelli Critique of ideology or/and analysis of culture?: Barthes and Lotman on secondary semiotic systems
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The article compares Roland Barthes’s and Juri Lotman’s notions of ‘second-order semiological systems’ [systemes semiologique seconds] and ‘secondary modelling systems’ [вторичные моделирующие системы]. It investigates the shared presuppositions of the two theories and their important divergences from each other, explaining them in terms of the opposite strategic roles that the notions of ‘ideology’ and ‘culture’ play in the work of Barthes and Lotman, respectively. The immersion of secondary modelling systems in culture as a “system of systems” characterized by internal heterogeneity, allows Lotman to evidence their positive creative potential: the result of the tensions arising from cultural systemic plurality and heterogeneity may coincide with the emergence of new, unpredictable meanings in translation. The context of Barthes’s second-order semiological systems is instead provided by highly homogeneous ideological frames that appropriate the signs of the first-order system and make them into forms for significations which confirm, reproduce and transmit previously existing information generated by hegemonic social and cultural discourses. The article shows how these differences resurface and, partially, fade away in the theories of the text that Barthes and Lotman elaborated in the 1970s. The discussion is concluded by some remarks on the possible topicality of Barthes’s and Lotman’s approaches for contemporary semiotics and the humanities in general.
17. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Hassib Elkouch Juri Lotman in Arabic: A bibliography
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18. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 3
Kalevi Kull Need for impressions: Zoosemiotics and zoosemiotics, by Aleksei Turovski
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19. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1/2
Lauri Linask, Riin Magnus Introduction: Framing nature and culture
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20. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 44 > Issue: 1/2
Ernest W. B. Hess-Luttich Urban discourse – city space, city language, city planning: Eco-semiotic approaches to the discourse analysis of urban renewal
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Sustainable Urban Planning has to be understood as a communicative process connecting city architecture, technology, city district management and social infrastructure of neighbourhoods. The focus on sustainability raises the question of the necessary discourse conditions that allow architects and city planners enter into a dialogue with other urban stakeholders, citizens, local administrators and politicians, and discuss which cultural heritage should be preserved and where sustainability takes precedence. Looking at the style of discourse in urban communication brings also its socio-cultural modalities into focus. At the intersection of communication and discourse studies, urban ecology and sociology, the article focuses on the growing interest in architectural communication and, taking current approaches as a starting point, seeks to clarify which conversational maxims and discourse requirements by mediation, moderation, and integration are promising for achieving a new urban quality.