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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 29, Issue 1, 2001

Riste Keskpaik
Pages 313-323

Towards a semiotic definition of trash

The phenomenon of trash has rarely been addressed in the cultural theoretical literature. However, its structural similarity with the concept of taboo as well as its role in the dynamics of culture has been stated. Current paper aims to summarize the partial contributions that have been made so far, localize them in a larger semiotic framework, and deriving from Lonnan's approach to culture suggest a few further ideas for a semiotic definition of trash. It is proposed to define trash as a phenomenon marking the boundary between culhlre and non-culture/nature. In the context of the deepening environmental crisis (to which accumulation of trash contributes) a semiotic approach opens a new perspective for identifying the origin of the problem in our mind/culture rather than in nature.

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