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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 44, Issue 4, 2016

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Displaying: 1-9 of 9 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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