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241. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1/4
Floyd Merrell Resemblance: From a complementarity point of view?
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Three premises set the stage for a Peirce based notion of resemblance, which, as Firstness, cannot be more than vaguely distinguished from Secondnessand Thirdness. Inclusion of Firstness with, and within, Secondness and Thirdness, calls for a nonbivalent, nonlinear, context dependent mode of thinkingcharacteristic of semiosis — that is, the process by which everything is always becoming something other than what it was becoming — and at the same time itincludes linear, bivalent classical logic as a subset. Certain aspects of the Dao, Buddhist philosophy, and Donald Davidson’s ‘radical interpretation’ affordadditional, and perhaps unexpected, support for the initial set of three premises.
242. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1/4
Timo Maran, Ester Võsu Introduction
243. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Ülle Pärl A semiotic alternative to communication in the processes in Management Accounting and Control Systems
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This conceptual paper addresses Management Accounting and Control Systems (MACS) from a communication process perspective as opposed to a functionaldesign perspective. Its arguments originate from a social-constructionist perspective on the organization. Its line of argument is that building a social theoryof a social phenomenon such as MACS, demands that attention be paid to the characteristics of the communication process. An existing theoretical frameworkthat does the same is Giddens’ structuration theory, but it is only partly satisfactory because it refuses to consider communication-as-interaction from a dynamiccontextual perspective, instead falling back on an argument related to the behavioural aspects of agency. An alternative is a semiotic-based communicationperspective that includes context as well as addresses the epistemological level of a MACS theory based on communication. The semiotic model of Jakobson is provided and developed as a specific alternative.
244. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Małgorzata Haładewicz-Grzelak Cultural codes in the iconography of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus)
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This paper examines some aspects of the cultural codes implied in the iconography of St Nicholas (Santa Claus). The argument posits the iconography of St Nicholas as a vessel for capturing meanings and accumulating them in the construction of public culture. The discussion begins from the earliest developments of the Christian era and proceeds to contemporary depictions (imagology). The study is conducted on the basis of a representative selection of renditions of Saint Nicholas, including 350 pictures of medieval representations (Western and Eastern Christianity), folk extensions and secular representations and it is theoretically grounded in the Tartu School of semiotics.
245. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Roger Parent, Stanley Varnhagen Designing a semiotic-based approach to intercultural training
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This exploratory enquiry seeks to examine the largely unexplored potential of semiotics for intercultural training and education. The proposed three-partdiscussion describes the process by which semiotic theoretical principles were selected and progressively refined into an applied model which was then pilotedthrough a 2007 research initiative entitled Tools for Cultural Development. The case study involved six groups of French and Australian trainees from both theacademic and professional sectors, in collaboration with university, government and community partners. The first part of the article summarizes a review of theliterature on approaches to cultural competence training. The study then outlines the transcoding process by which the stated objectives of intercultural educationwere reformulated in semiotic terms, particularly in reference to cultural semiotics on which the theoretical core of the applied model was subsequently based.Relevant principles from other semiotic schools as well as similar theoretical and methodological stances in the social sciences reinforced the established body of theory for the training design. The third part of the study discusses the process by which semiotic principles were further defined as skill-based outcomes and goals for workshop implementation. This pragmatic defining process facilitated development of questionnaires and surveys, thereby allowing participants to evaluate the training experience by examining their perceptions about the workshop outcomes at the beginning and end of the sessions. This article presents the quantitative results of the evaluation and, in discussing the gains and limits of data obtained, provides the context for a follow-up article on the qualitative findingsof the study.
246. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Keith Percival Roman Jakobson and the birth of linguistic structuralism
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The term “structuralism” was introduced into linguistics by Roman Jakobson in the early days of the Linguistic Circle of Prague, founded in 1926. The cluster of ideas defended by Jakobson and his colleagues can be specified but differ considerably from the concept of structuralism as it has come to be understood more recently. That took place because from the 1930s on it became customary to equate structuralism with the ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure, as expounded in his posthumous Cours de linguistique générale (1916). It can be shown, however, that Jakobson’s group rejected Saussure’s theory for ideological reasons. As theterm “structuralism” became more widely used it came to be associated with positivist approaches to linguistics rather than with the original phenomenologicalorientation that had characterized the Linguistic Circle of Prague. The purpose of this paper is to clarify these different approaches and to suggest that because ofits extreme porosity the word “structuralism” is an example of a “terminological pandemic”. More research on the varied uses to which the key terms “structure”and “structuralism” were put will undoubtedly further elucidate this important episode in 20th-century intellectual history.
247. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Marc Champagne Axiomatizing umwelt normativity
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Prompted by the thesis that an organism’s umwelt possesses not just a descriptive dimension, but a normative one as well, some have sought to annexsemiotics with ethics. Yet the pronouncements made in this vein have consisted mainly in rehearsing accepted moral intuitions, and have failed to concretely further our knowledge of why or how a creature comes to order objects in its environment in accordance with axiological charges of value or disvalue. For want of a more explicit account, theorists writing on the topic have relied almost exclusively on semiotic insights about perception originally designed as part of a sophisticated refutation of idealism. The end result, which has been a form of direct givenness, has thus been far from convincing. In an effort to bring substance to the right-headed suggestion that values are rooted in the biological and conform to species-specific requirements, we present a novel conception that strives to make explicit the elemental structure underlying umwelt normativity. Building and expanding on the seminal work of Ayn Rand in metaethics, we describe values as an intertwined lattice which takes a creature’s own embodied life as its ultimate standard; and endeavour to show how, from this, all subsequent valuations can in principle be determined.
248. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Margus Vihalem What is ‘the subject’ the name for? The conceptual structure of Alain Badiou’s theory of the subject
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The present paper outlines some basic concepts of Alain Badiou’s philosophy of the subject, tracking down its inherent and complex philosophical implications. These implications are made explicit in the criticism directed against the philosophical sophistry which denies the pertinence of the concept of truth. Badiou’s philosophical innovation is based on three nodal concepts, namely truth, event and subject, and it must be revealed how the afore-mentioned concepts areorganized and interrelated, eventually leading to reformulating the concept of the subject. In its exercise, philosophy is intimately affiliated to the four adjacent procedures of mathematics, art, love and politics that could be understood as overall conditions on the margins of which philosophical thinking takes place. Separating philosophy from ontology and charging philosophy with what exceeds being, Badiou transforms it to the general theory of the event. Consequently the concept of the subject is disconnected from that of the object, the subject being not an instance of knowledge, but always a part of generic procedures and thus definable simply as a finite fragment or an operative configuration of the traces of the event. Therefore, it could be stated that Badiou’s theory of the subject is formal and refuses all essentialist connotations.
249. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Torkild Thellefsen, Bent Sørensen, Martin Thellefsen The significance-effect is a communicational effect: Introducing the DynaCom
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The paper presents the concept significance-effect outlined in a Peircean inspired communication model, named DynaCom. The significance effect is a communicational effect; the formal conditions for the release of the significance-effect are the following: (1) Communication has to take place within a universeof discourse; (2) Utterer and interpreter must share collateral experience; and (3) The cominterpretant must occur. If these conditions are met the meaning of thecommunicated sign is likely to be correctly interpreted by the interpreter. Here, correctly means in accordance with the intentions of the utterer. The scope of thesignificance-effect has changed from knowledge effects caused by technical terms to emotional effects caused by lifestyle values in brands, for example.
250. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Ekaterina Velmezova From semantics to semiotics: A page of early Soviet intellectual history
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The paper focuses on a particular episode in the (pre)history of semiotics in the USSR in the 1920s–1930s. At that time, an attempt to create an “integral” science was made by linguists, among whom N. Ja. Marr was one of the best-known. Several semantic laws formulated by Marr could be either reformulated in order to be applied to other disciplines (literary studies, anthropology, archeology, biology) or “proved” by the facts or discoveries drawn from them. Another “proof” that these linguistic theories were correct consisted in the possibility of transferring the corresponding models and schemes from one field of knowledge to another: at that epoch the refusal to make a clear methodological separation between disciplines which were primarily concerned with “matter” and those that were more “spiritual” was an important tendency for scholars both in the Soviet Union and in other countries.
251. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 1
Irene Machado Lotman’s scientific investigatory boldness: The semiosphere as a critical theory of communication in culture
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The main focus of this article is the analysis of the concept of semiosphere as it has emerged from the conception of culture as information — instead of describing the transmission of messages from A to B, it is based on the general process of meaning generation. Following Lotman’s criticism on the paradoxes in communication and its theoretical domain, the article confronts the paradoxical concepts on: (1) the concept of message transmission from the addresser toaddressee; (2) the notion of isolated processing systems; (3) the idea that culture speaks a unique language. From the standpoint of the semiosphere, the new object for studying such controversies could be found in the concept of text. When text is taken at the centre of the analysis of culture, nothing appears in an isolated fashion. Lotman’s thinking does not fear the new hypothesis in proposing the conceptual domain of semiosphere to the scientific study of culture.
252. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Kalevi Kull Juri Lotman in English: Bibliography
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The bibliography provides a list of all known English-language publications by Juri M. Lotman (including in co-authorship and reprints), in chronologicalorder, described de visu. The first English translation of J. Lotman’s work appeared in 1973, altogether there is 109 entries in the list. The bibliography demonstrates that in the 1970s and 1980s, most of the translations were published in the context of slavistics, whereas after 2000 Lotman’s work starts to appear in the anthologies of general semiotics.
253. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Ekaterina Velmezova, Kalevi Kull Interview with Vyacheslav V. Ivanov about semiotics, the languages of the brain and history of ideas
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The interview with one of the founders of the Tartu–Moscow school, semiotician Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov (b. 1929) from August 2010, describes V. V. Ivanov’s opinions of several scholars and their work (including Evgenij Polivanov, Mikhail Bakhtin, Andrej Kolmogorov, Nikolaj Marr etc.), his relationships with his father Vsevolod Ivanov, as well as V. V. Ivanov’s views on the past and future of semiotics, with some emphasis on neurosemiotics, zoosemiotics, semiotics of culture, cybernetics, history of linguistics, study and protection of small languages. The interview also deals with V. V. Ivanov’s book Even and Odd.
254. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Silvi Salupere Semiotics as science
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The present article gives an overview of different approaches on semiotics as science, its objects of investigation, methods and genesis (where, how and when does semiotics begin?). The author does not aim at establishing one prescriptive approach. Quite the opposite, by leaving the question open, the author aspiresto encourage further discussion about the criteria for scientificity, establishing the borders of scientific disciplines, and the productivity of the dialogic (or, rather,polylogic) scientific meta-discourse in science in general and in semiotics in particular.
255. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Vadim Verenich On relationships between the logic of law, legal positivism and semiotics of law
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The issue of reciprocal relationships between the logic of law, positivistic theory of the logic of law, and legal semiotics is among the most important questionsof the modern theoretical jurisprudence. This paper has not attempted to provide any comprehensive account of the modern jurisprudence (and legal logic).Instead, the emphasis has been laid on those aspects of positivist legal theories, logical studies of law and legal semiotics that allow tracing the common pointsor the differences between these paradigms of legal research. One of the theses of the present work is that, at the comparative methodological level, the limits oflegal semiotics and its object of inquiry could only be defined in relation to legal positivism and logical studies of law. This paper also argues for a proper positionfor legal semiotics in between legal positivism and legal logic. The differences between legal positivism, legal logic and legal semiotics are best captured in theissue of referent.
256. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Mari Niitra Mapping the child’s world: The cognitive and cultural function of proper names in the book series Paula’s Life
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The article regards children’s literature as a certain cultural tool. This approach enables to reveal various characteristic aspects of the poetics of children’sliterature, while relating them to children’s cognitive and cultural development. Focusing on a book series Paula’s Life by Estonian author Aino Pervik, it can beseen how two different ways of understanding — the initial, so-called mythological type of thinking of preschoolers and the emerging conceptual thinking — arecombined.The article draws mostly on the concepts of cultural psychology and the authors of Tartu–Moscow school of semiotics, who have elaborated the idea thatproper names form one of the central components of mythological consciousness, the latter being comparable to “the language of proper names”. The main attention is drawn on the functioning of names and the topic of naming and categorizing in these texts.
257. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Ülle Pärli Proper name as an object of semiotic research
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The present article is divided into two parts. Its theoretical introductory part takes under scrutiny how proper name has been previously dealt with in linguistics, philosophy and semiotics. The purpose of this short overview is to synthesise different approaches that could be productive in the semiotic analysis of naming practices. Author proposes that proper names should not be seen as a linguistic element or a type of (indexical) signs, but rather as a function that can be carried by different linguistic units. This approach allows us to develop a transdisciplinary basis for a wider understanding of naming as a sociocultural practice. The empirical part of the article uses one certain village in Estonia in Laane-Virumaa district as an example to demonstrate how toponyms structure the social space, how they carry the memory and how naming practice highlights such changes in the semiotic behaviour of the social life that otherwise could have remained hidden.
258. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Kalevi Kull, Silvi Salupere, Peeter Torop, Mihhail Lotman The institution of semiotics in Estonia
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The article gives a historical overview of the institutional development of semiotics in Estonia during two centuries, and describes briefly its current status. The key characteristics of semiotics in Estonia include: (1) seminal role of two world-level classics of semiotics from the University of Tartu, Juri Lotman and Jakob von Uexkull; (2) the impact of Tartu–Moscow school of semiotics, with a series of summer schools in Kaariku in 1960s and the establishment of semiotic study of culture; (3) the publication of the international journal Sign Systems Studies, since 1964; (4) the development of biosemiotics, notably together with colleagues from Copenhagen; (5) teaching semiotics as a major in bachelor, master, and doctoral programs in the University of Tartu, since 1994; (6) a plurality of institutions — in addition to the Department of Semiotics in the University of Tartu, several supporting semiotic institutions have been established since 1990s; and (7) a wide scope of research in various branches of semiotics, including theoretical studies, empirical studies, and applied semiotics projects on governmental and other request.
259. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Riin Magnus Time-plans of the organisms: Jakob von Uexkull’s explorations into the temporal constitution of living beings
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The term “time-plan” is introduced in the article to sum up the diversity of temporal processes described by Jakob von Uexküll (1864–1944) in the frameworkof the general Planmässigkeit of nature. Although Uexküll hardly had any connections with his contemporary philosophies of time, the theme of the subjectivetimes and timing of the organisms forms an essential part of his umwelt theory. As an alternative to the dominance of evolutionary time in biological discussions, Uexküll took perceptual and developmental times of organisms as his natural scientific priorities. While discussing the characteristics of the latter, Uexküll departs from an epigenetic position. Discussion about perceptual time entails detecting the primary units of time (moments) as well as how the succession of moments results in the perception of movement. The last part of the article will explicate the significance of the “time plan” concept for biophilosophical discussions. It is suggested that the bioethical question rising from Uexküll’s works may take the following form: do other biological subjects besides humans have a right to their own timing?
260. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 39 > Issue: 2/4
Anti Randviir Transdisciplinarity in objects: Spatial signification from graffiti to hegemony
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Contemporary sociosemiotics is a way to transcend borderlines between trends inside semiotics, and also other disciplines. Whereas semiotics has been considered as an interdisciplinary field of research par excellence, sociosemiotics can point directions at transdisciplinary research. The present article will try toconjoin the structural and the processual views on culture and society, binding them together with the notion of signification. The signification of space willillustrate the dynamic between both cultures and metacultures, and cultural mainstreams and subcultures. This paper pays attention to the practice of sociocultural semiotisation of space and territorialisation by diverse examples and different sociocultural levels that imply semiotic cooperation between several members of groups that can be characterised as socii. We analyse territorialisation by graffiti, by furnishing spatial environment through artistic manners, by shaping the semiotic essence of cities through naming, renaming and translating street names, by pinning and structuring territories with monuments, by landmarking and mapping cultural space through individualisation of cities. We will see how principles of semiotisation of space are valid on different levels (individual and social, formal and informal, democratic and hegemonic, cultural and subcultural) and how these principles form a transdisciplinary object of study as ‘semiotisation of space’, and how space can be regarded as a genuinely transdisciplinary research object. Individual, culture, and society are connected in such an object both as constituents and as a background of study.