Semiotics of cultural history

Peeter Torop

Abstract


The interpretation of cultural history in the context of cultural semiotics, especially interpretation of semiotics of cultural history as a semiotics of culture, and semiotics of culture as a semiotics of cultural history, gives us, first, a deeper understanding of the analysability of cultural history and, at the same time, of the importance of history and different aspects of temporality for the semiotics of culture. Second, the history of the semiotics of culture, especially the semiotics of culture of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, is an organic part of cultural history, while the self-presentation of the school via establishing explicit and implicit contacts with the heritage of Russian theory (the Formalist School, the Bakhtin circle, Vygotskij, Eisenstein etc) was already a semiotic activity and an object of the semiotics of cultural history. Third, the main research object of semiotics of culture is the hierarchy of the sign systems of culture and the existent as well as historical correlations between these sign systems. Such conceptualization of the research object of semiotics of culture turns the latter into a semiotics of cultural history. Emphasizing the semiotic aspect of cultural history can support the development of semiotics of culture in two ways. First, semiotics of culture has the potential of conducting more in-depth research of texts as mediators between the audience and the cultural tradition. Second, semiotics of culture as a semiotics of cultural history can be methodologically used for establishing a new (chronotopical) theory of culture.

Keywords


semiotics of culture; history; text; chronotope; Juri Tynyanov; Mikhail Bakhtin; Juri Lotman; Boris Uspenskij

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2017.45.3-4.07





SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia