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1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Peeter Torop Introduction: Re-reading of cultural semiotics
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2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Julia Kristeva Thinking about literary thought
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3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Thomas G. Winner How did the ideas of Juri Lotman reach the West?
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semiotics of culture
4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Andreas Schönle Lotman and cultural studies: The case for cross-fertilization
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This paper seeks to evaluate the extent to which Lotman’s theoretical works could provide a conceptual articulation to the project of British and American cultural studies (CS). Just as CS, Lotman operates with an extensive concept of culture, albeit one mostly limited to nobility culture and focused on the past. His late works can be seen to articulate a semiotic theory of power: his emphasis on the relationship between center and periphery recalls the infatuation with marginality that underpins CS. Lotman shares the (post) structuralist premise about the primary role of discourse in founding reality. Yet his emphasis on the natural striving of culture toward diversity mitigates the subject’s dependence upon discourse. Thus, subjects act on their striving toward autonomy by playing discourses against one another, recoding them in an act of autocommunication that generates novelty in the process. Even though it denies the grand narrative, Cultural Studies emphasizes class, gender, and race differences. Lotman’s concept of the semiosphere emphasizes the ad hoc foundation of group identities, their emergence out of an intrinsic recoding of extrinsic codes, and the circulation of texts and values among groups. Lotman doesn’t privilege any sort of group identity and therefore offers a flexible framework applicable to a broader range of groups. In that sense he offers an alternative to Gramsci’s notion of the rootedness of groups in class realities (which underlies early CS).
5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Andreas Schönle Juri Lotman ja Cultural Studies: vastastikuse rikastamise võimalused. Kokkuvõte
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6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Leonid Tchertov Spatial semiosis in culture
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Lotman’s conception of semiosphere opens the way to development of spatial semiotics as a special branch of sign theory. There are a lot of peculiarities in the spatial semiosis, which distinguish it from the temporal ones. These distinctions are connected with some special features of semiotized space, and they touch both upon the spatial texts and upon the spatial codes. The spatial syntax has its own specific structures, which can be reversed, non-linear and continual, created without discrete signs. The differentiation relates also to semantics of spatial signs and texts, which are mainly motivated by their denotates due to similarity or contiguity. There are some pragmatic peculiarities of the spatial semiosis: the greater connection with the praxis, on the one hand, and the greater ability for the preservation of the cultural memory, on the other hand. The mainly visual character of spatial texts in plane of expression can be also considered as its specific pragmatic property. These peculiarities give some special possibilities for the spatial semiosis and make necessary its participation in the various spheres of the culture, where diverse spatial codes interact in different ways between each other and with temporal codes as well.
7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Leonid Tchertov Ruumiline semioos kultuuris. Kokkuvõte
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8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Sadeq Rahimi Is cultural logic an appropriate concept? A semiotic perspective on the study of culture and logic
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It is argued that (a) the question of ‘cultural logic’ is a valid inquiry for disciplines seeking to comprehend and compare mental processes across cultures, and (b) semiotics, as the science of studying signs and signification, is an appropriate means of approaching the question of cultural logic. It is suggested that a shift needs to be made in studying reasoning across cultures from the traditional value-oriented methods of judgment to a meaning-oriented assessment. Traditional methods of cross-cultural comparison are suggested to be flawed in their attempt to develop a psychological account of why different cultural societies can draw different conclusions from ‘similar’ data, because they typically do not take into account the culturally-specific processes of ‘meaning’ and semiosis. These processes, it is argued, cause input data to develop differentially from one semiotic context to another. In other words, before reaching the cognitive processing level data is already shaped by the semiotic context, thus what is processed cognitively by two individuals in two cultural/semiotic contexts is no longer ‘the same.’ A semiotically conceived notion of cultural logic is therefore a crucial factor in any cross-cultural study of cognitive and psychological systems.
9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Sadeq Rahimi Kas kultuuriloogika on asjakohane mõiste? Semiootiline lähenemine kultuuri ja loogika uurimisele. Kokkuvõte
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10. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 30 > Issue: 2
Irene Portis-Winner Eric Wolf: the crosser of boundaries
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The subject of this paper is an introduction to my assessment of the work of the late American anthropologist, Eric Wolf (1923–1999), whom I consider to be one of the greatest American anthropologist. I plan a monograph on his total work from a point of view, largely overlooked, emphasizing his sensitive, path-breaking, and poetic insights. I see Wolf’s work as having three interpenetrating periods, which I call (1) Eric Wolf, the poet, focusing primarily on his work on Mexico, (2) the study of peasantry world-wide, emphasizing history, context, power, etc. (from the very beginning Wolf demolished the idea of static isolated cultures that anthropologists so loved to study; and in this respect, Eric Wolf changed anthropology forever), and (3) the third period, reaching to his death and never really finished, was Wolf the philosopher and crosser of boundaries.