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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 23, Issue 1/4, 2007

Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt

Jie Zhang, Haihong Ji
Pages 55-66

Three Cornerstones of the Former Soviet Semiotics
A Comparative Study of the Semiotic Theories of Bakhtin, Lotman, and Uspenskij

Bakhtin’s social semiotics, Lotman’s structural literary semiotics, and Uspenskij’s linguistic cultural semiotics are the three important theoretical cornerstones of the mansion of semiotics in the former Soviet Union, whose influences have long gone beyond the territory of the former Soviet Union, and have attracted widespread attention of the literary and semiotic circle from China and the rest of the world as well. However, researches so far have been mainly separate studies of their distinct theories, while a comparative study of the characteristics of Bakhtin, Lotman, and Uspenskij’s theories and methodologies has not been initiated. This paper attempts to compare the Russian troika’s conceptions and research methodologies of semiotics, and explores how they reach the same goal of the study of social-cultural system from different approaches — linguistics and trans-linguistics. This paper further reveals how they break the thinking mode of dualism and construct a pluralistic critical mode, and finally points out the contribution they have made to semiotics and the overall studies of humanities and social sciences.

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