Semiotics of Culture (Broms & Kaufmann)

Chernov, Igor 1988. Historical survey of Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 7 - 16.

Let us begin by examining the history of the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School, its present state and key-conceptions of its theoretical program. Semiotics is beyond daubt a science without an object; the very fact of semiosis appears as secondary, as a play of the mind, as a search for ways of describing. So, semiotics is, a priori, a metascience - due to the absence of an object and the way we use semiotic models.
The opposition of sign to non-sign is a privilege or aduty of the person describing, but not of the person participating. Even in the case of auto-feflection we shift from actant to reflectant (or describer). That's why the postulating of a certain ontology is a logical mistake. All semiotic consreflection.tellations are possible anly in the world of (Chernov 1988: 7)
Valuable insight. Semiosis as "a play of the mind" seems to be exactly what I mean by semiophrenia.
Next I must touch upon the problem: can ve speak about a unified program of the Tartu-Moscow School, or must we keep in mind that there are as many theories of semiotics as semioticians? We can say, in ather words, that there is a problem of unity and diversity inside the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics.
Semiotics is the theory of sign systems used in human society. Its topic - meaning and communication - constitutes a central problem of our time. Semiotics embodies the current preoccupation with procedure and methodology, especially in the scrutiny it pays to the relationship between metalanguage (or the language of description) and the object language (or the described phenomenon). (Chernov 1988: 10)
Nonverbal = object-language; verbal = meta-languaue.
I would like to mention another reason for the use of the term "secondary modelling system." It was created as an euphemism for semiotics in 1964 because the very term semiotics was prohibited by scientific state officials. For example, half of the printed copies of the collection of theses headlined, "Symposium on the Structural Study of Sign Systems," (Moscow 1962) were held back by the director of the Institute oy Slavic and Balkan Studies of the Academy of Sciences. The symposium itself was held during the same year in December. But, the fate of the copies is still unknown. (Chernov 1988: 12)
This is one way to translate the headline of that fateful symposium.
In the formative stages of semiotics, text was considered as a signal and as such the text was defined in terms of three topical restrictions: Firstly, a text must be bound or fixed - framed apart as distinct from the non-text. Secondly, a text must provide a means for the conscious transmission of a message. Thirdly, a text must be understandable.
Since signalization involves an addresser and an addressee, textual analysis must take into account the history of the communicative act and examine how a text is read differently by various audiences. Linguistic expressiveness is not sufficient for an utterance to be considered a text. Cultural texts are different from linguistic messages in various ways. For example, graphic fixation may be required of a text, but not of a linguistic message. This striving to demarcate everyday communication (non-text) and cultural value (text) often leads to ascribing textual significance to those messages that are relatively unintelligible and demand decipherment by a special interpreter. Thus, the text (its structuce and functions etc.) has been the main hero of the Tartu semiotics through the seventies. (Chernov 1988: 12-13)
Linguistic message vs. cultural text. Nonverbal texts in this light?
Culture is understood as a system that stands between man (as social unit) anh the reality surrounding him; that is, as a mechanism for processing and organizing the information which comes to him from the outside world. The information may be considered impurtant or it may be ignored within a given culture. However, information which is considered non-relevant yor one culture may, in the language of another culture, be extremely important. In this way, one and the same text may beread differently in languages of different cultures.
From a social point of view, culture is a system of relationships between man and the collective, and may be regarded as a communicatory dialogue: the social group reacts to the behavior of the individual then reacts back to. This approach makes it possible to look at the history from the semiotic point of perspective. (Chernov 1988: 13)
Sounds like Uspensikijan reading of the history of the socium.

Hoppal, Mihaly 1988. Ethnosemiotics and semiotics of culture. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 17-33.

In the Tartu University's publications, started in 1964, practically all fields of culture have been analyzed. It is impossible here to enumerate all the topics ond their detailed analyses which were published mainly in the volumes of Trudy and by now, some of them are available in English (Maranda ed. 1974, Baran ed. 1976, Matejka ed. 1977, Lucid ed. 1977, Shukman 1977, Lotman - Uspenski 1984). (Hoppal 1988: 22)
Some of these I have read already. Athers I should read in the future.
Literature is a kind of communication within culture which, in fact, communication about culture, and about the "mechanism of changes" in culture - as Lotman puts in his article on the "Dynamic Model of Semiotic Systems" (Trudy vol. 10:18-33). But, other critical voices can also be heard, aying that the textual approach predominant until now may be counterproductive and "will have to give up the view by which a textual analysis of a text as a product of culture... permits disbehavior consisting in the handling of such texts. Culture, if it is a system, turns out to be more complex than has ever been suspected. Intratextual codes recognized by semioticians are not the only codes which control the real handling of meaning by those who use the texts and who thus make culture a functioning system" (Rosner 1984:359). (Hoppal 1988: 24)
Cultural semiotics and textualism.

Oguibenine, Boris 1988. On the World Tree symbolism: The sources of an analytical pattern. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 35-50.

Phonological binarism is, for instance, code vs. message, metaphor vs, metonymy, selection vs, continuity, correlation vs, disjunction. For Jakobson, the center of binarism plays the foremost roles. Elements of language are gathered around an axis. According to Jakobson, any language function can be described accordingly, along the symmetrical, basically binary patterns. Milner's presentation of Jakobson's analytical tools culminates in this conclusion: in Jakobson's Selected Writings, the major contributions are those in which elemental, oppositional couples and their combinations are defined; they are not numerous, but they enable ta analyze exhaustively and successfully the linguistic objects. (Oguibenine 1988: 48)

Voigt, Vilmos 1988. Between Eastern and Western semiotics. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 51-56.

January 24-31, 1961. VINITI conference in Moscow University on information theory, machine translation and automatic text reading
/ V. V. Ivanov, I. A. Mel'cuk, Ju. K. Lekomcev, A. K. Zolkovskij, E. V. Paduceva, M. M. Langleben, S. K. Saumjan, D. M. Segal etc. /

January 28-31, 1961. Moscow conforonce on "general theory of signalization" organized by structuras-typological "sector" of Slavonic languages at Slavistic Research Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences
/ Ju. V. Knorozov, V. V. Ivanov /

September 23-27, 1961 at Anstitute of Russian Language at Gorki State University a conference on applying mathemathical methods in study of literary language
/20 papers, A. N. Kolmogorov, D. M. Segal, A. K. Zolkovskij. V. V. Ivanov, Ju. V. Knorozov, Ju. K. Sceglov, I. I. Revzin /

December 19-26, 1962. Moscow a conference organized by structural-typologiral "sector": Simpozium po strukturnomu izuceniju znakovyh sistem
/Tezisy dokladov : November 1962, by V. V. Ivanov: "Semiotica - eto novaja nauka..." /
/ S. K. Saumjan, I. I. Revzin. V. V. Ivanov, P. G. Bogatyrev, V. Ju. Rozencvejg, A. A. Zalinjak, T. V. Civ'jan. M. I. Lekomceva, B. A. Uspenskij, E. V. Paduceva, D. M. Segal, A. M. Pjatigorskij, V. N. Toporov, Ju. K. Lekomcev, L. F. Zegin. A. K. Zolkovskij, Ju. K. Sceglov, M. L. Gasparov /

August 19-29, 1964. Tartu, 1st summer school, organized by Lotman
/ Tezisy dokladov letnej skoly po vtoricnym modelirujuscim sistemam, Tartu 1964. Kääriku. = = Trudy po znakovym sistemam II. 1965. /
/ Ju. M. Lotman, A. M. Pjaticorskij, B. L. Ogibenin. D. M. Segal. A. Ja. Syrkin, B. A. Uspenskij, M. I. Lekomceva, V. V. Ivanov, V. N. Toporov, T. V. Civjan, L. F. Zegin. M. M. Langleben, Ju. I. Levin, I. R. Revzin /
(Voigt 1988: 52-53)
This is actually rare information.

Piatigorsky, Alexander 1988. Three origins of religious symbolism. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 59-65.

The second M, the Mantra, does the same as Mandala, it organizes the vocal and audial environment of the meditating porsen. And finally the third element, Mudra, means, in Vedic and post-Vedic tradition, a certain fixation of gestures and microgestures or movements of the human body, especially the hands. Later, Mudra acquired a much more universal seaming or referred to a symbol. It meant symbolism as such, the sphere of symbolic representation; it meant symbolism as soch, the sphere of symbolic representation; it meant symbolism, the idea of symbolism. A part of its meaning became a general term. We could ask what is Mudra, and answer: all is Mudra, the world equals Mudra. Likewise you could say that all texts are Mantra, but Mudra assumed the role, above all as a general and generic meaning of symbolism as such. (Piatigorsky 1988: 65)
Mudra gestures are missing from Hand It. Good to know that it is not only gestures.

Sebeok, Thomas A. 1988. In what sense is language a "primary modeling system?". In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 67-80.

As Francois Jakob later explained with utmost clarity: "Every organism is so equipped as to obtain a certain perception oy the outer world. Each species thus lives in its own unique sonsery world, to which other species may be partially or totally blind... What an organism detects in its environment is always but a part of what is around. And this part diffors according to the organism." (1982:55) The-world-as-perceived depends crucially on each organism's total sensorium and on the way its brain integrates sensory with motor events. But the inclusive behavioral resources of any organism mist be reasonably aligned with its model of "reality" (Natur), that is, the system of signs its nervous system is capable of assembling - or it will surely be doomed, by natural selection, to extinction.
Schneirla's biphasic approach/withdrawal theory (1965) furnishes a minimal model which must have been crucial for the survival of all animal types, from protozoans to primates (including man). Such a miniature model - or "modelita," in Chao's (1962:565) sobriqeut - evidently requires much the same organs, but is played out in two functionally opposite systems, one for the reaching of food and mates, the other far the evasion of noxious situations. A key postulate of this holistic oppositive A/W theory, allowing, as it does, for plasticity through experience, is that it cyclically relates every organism's Innenwelt (or inner world, "compromising," as Lorenz explains (1971:275), "the whole of its bodily structures and/or functions") to its characteristic habitat (Umgebung, or observer's Umwelt; after Uexküll 1909).
The Innenwelt of every animal comprises a model - whether of a minimal A/W type or of a more elaborate kind - that is made up of an elementary array of several types of nonverbal signs (variously elaborated by Uexküll (1982:10-11) under such labels as Ordnungszeichen, Inhaltszeichen, Lokalzeichen, Richtungszeichen, Wirkzeichen, and the like, none of which will be discussed here). Solely in the genus Homo have the verbal signs emerged. To put it in another way, only hominids possess two mutually sustaining repertoires of signs, the zoosemiotic nonverbal, plus, superimposed, the anthroposemiotic vebal. The latter is the modeling system which the Soviet scholars call primary, but which, in truth, is phylogenetically as well an ontogenetically secondary to the nonverbal; and, therefore, what they call "secondary," is actually a further, tertiary augmentation of the former. The congruity of this expanded paradigm with Karl R. Popper's famous Worlds 1-2-3 model (Eccles 1979, Lecture 6; Sebeok 1989:204-205) is unmistakable: his World 3 is the World of Culture; his World 2, "the other uniquely human world" (Eccles 1979:115-116); explicitly encompasses language and develops together with the former "in some kind of symbiotic interaction;" and his World 1 is the whole material world of the cosmos, both inorganic and organic, including machines and all of biology. (Sebeok 1988: 73-74)
Invaluable hints.
Accordingly, languages - consisting of a set of features that promotes fitness - can best be thought of as having been built by selection for the cognitive function of modeling, and, as the philosopher Popper and the linguist Chomsky have likewise insisted (see Sebeok 1986d:462, fn. 2), not at all for the message swapping function of communication. The latter was routinely carried on by nonverbal means, as in all animals, as it continues to be in the context of most human interactions today. (Sebeok 1988: 76)

Shukman, Ann 1988. Towards a poetics of the absurd: The prose writings of Daniil Kharms. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 81-95.

Most of his short prose writings date from these last years of his life (1933-41). Some 100 of these pieces are now known. These narratives, or evocations of situations - fow longer than a page (some not more than a few lines long) - are experiments in minimalist writing, alogicality, and anti-narrativity. A few details of everyday existence are chosen and juxtaposed, or repeated until they become ridiculous. Violence is described in the naive style and language of a child's tale, or disjointed and unexplained events taken from recocnizable everyday life are presented so as to evoke a fooling of shock and horror. Events either have no cause or consequence or are provided with ones that defy normal, common-sense perceptions of reality. Kharm's prose writings have justifiably been described as "siterature of the absurd:" they share with, for instance the plays of Ionesco, the same defiance of accepted norms of logic, causality, and communication. In addition, <"--lk 83-->they defy the convention of narrativity and of literature, especially of Russian Literature. (Shukman 1988: 82)
The language theory of the Bakhtin circle in the nineteen twenties was based not so much on the mechanics of communication as on the problem of transfor of meaning in communication between two people. The basic unit is the utterance and the meaning of an utterance is always determined by context (using the word now in the sense of circumstances, not in Jakobson's sense as a referent). Part of the context of any verbal communication is the common knowledge and common evaluation which the interlocutors bring to the given situation and which has a formative part to play in their dialogue. So instead of Jakobson's six-point schema, Bakhtin/Voloshinov isolatod eight factors as being present in any act of communication: the speaker or auther, the listener or reader, the actual utterance itself, the topic (or theme of the conversation, which may be another person), the situation (time and space), the language used, the common xnowledge of the topic or situation, which is implied or assumed, and the common evaluation of the circumstances which is also implied or assumed. The Bakhtin school even went so far as to assert that the most important factor in the act of communication is what is unspoken - this assertion assumes a certain level of shared knowledge and evaluation. (Shukman 1988: 85)
Compare this to other communication models (Jakobson, Lotman, Sebeok, Ruesch, Birdwhistell).
"Rehabilitation" itself, one of Kharms' most horrendous pieces, is the confossion of a murderer and rapist who mutilates his victims and defecates on them. It is told by the murderer himself, self-satisfied and indifferent to the enormity of his crimes, in 30 lines of what must be some of the most shocking prose ever written in Russian. (Shukman 1988: 87)
In 1971, the theoretical linguist Isaak Revzin and his wife Olga Revzina published an analysis of Ionesco's plays in the Tartu journal, Works on Sign Systems. The authors attributed the absurdness of these plays to their violation of certain presuppositions which lie behind every normal act of communication. In developing Jakobson's communications schema, they added the following eight axioms which they claim are normally operative on the act of communication: 1. That the context ("reality") is constructed in such a way that some if not all events can be explained causally (this they call the axiom of determinism). 2. That between addresser and addressee there is some common memory). 3. That addresser and addressee will to some extent share the same prognosis of the future, what will happen next (the axiom of the same prognosis). 4. That the addresser will be informing the addressee of something new (the axiom of informativeness). 5. That addresser and addressee have in mind the same reality, some measure of truth (the axiom of truthfulness). 7. That the text will describe reality with some degree of reduction because of the shared memory and shared prognosis of the communicators (the axiom of incomplete description). 8. That the tekt is coherent (the axiom of the semantic coherence of the text). (Shukman 1988: 88)
Yet another communication model.
Indeed, Kharms takes the axiom that the text is smaller than the reality it describes to the extreme. In the Revzin's categorien, axiom 7 depends on the rommon memory and common prognosis of the interlocutors (in literature: author and readers); in other words; the text does not need to specify every item of reality, because a large part of it can be implied and left to the assumed knowledge and experience of the readers. In the case of Kharms, this assumed knowledge is based on the recognizability of common everyday actions and situations. (Shukman 1988: 90-91)
Nonverbal behaviour is often implied in literature.
Eight postulates for normal communication
  1. That the context (reality) is constructed is such away that at least same events can be explained causally (postulate of "determinism").
  2. Some common memory between addresser and addressee.
  3. Some shared prognosis between addresser and addressee.
  4. That the addresser is supplying some new information ("informativeness").
  5. That addresser and addressee havi in mind the same reality ("identity").
  6. That there is some correspondence between tekt and reality ("truth").
  7. That the text will describe reality with some degree of reduction because of shared memory and prognosis of interlocutors ("incompleteness").
  8. That the text is coherent ("semantic coherence").
(Shukman 1988: 94-95)

Brohms, Henri and Yuri Lotman 1988. Greetings to the symposium. An interview with Yuri Lotman in Helsinki, June 1987. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 115-123.

Yuri Lotman: [...] I will here still like to say something. Autocommunication actually has such a futction of transforming the self into something desirable and this is probably connected with the following. My ego may be regarded a as a semiosphere. It represents a collection af addressees. When I address myself I am addressing one of these addressees and I identify myself with him. And in this way, the actual identification is realized and this identification actually resembles your example. As we remember in Tolstoy's novel War and Peace the battle of Borodino ends indecisively. It is not clear who won it. General Kutuzov issues the order that this is a victory. He addresses himself and his troops and denotes this unclear outcome of victory. It becomes a victory. (Lotman 1988: 120)
Lotman himself using the semiospheric model for #self.

Broms, Henri 1988a. Autocommunication - a way to induce visions to the organization. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 125-138.

But there was a way out of this dilemma for Bennis. In the abovementioned, "The Four Competencies of Leadership," which was based on interviews with 90 of the most effective leaders in the nation, he begins to believe in leadership again. There are four parameters to his new concept of leadership:
  • management of attention
  • management of meaning
  • management of trust
  • management of self
He says: "Leaders manage attention through a compelling vision that birngs others to a place they have not been before." About management of meaning he says> "To make the dreams apparent to others and to align people with them, leaders must communicate their vision. Consider, for example the contrasting styles of Presinedt Reagan and Carter. Ronald Reagan is called 'the great communicator;' one of his speech writers said: 'Reagan can read the phone catalog and make it interesting.'" (Broms 1988a: 127)
These four points actually describe parts of my current work.
The communication system - sender-receiver - enables the transference of measurable amounts of information. But in the channel, I-I, a qualitative transformation actually leads to the reorganization of one's self. In the first case the sender transfers information to the other, to the receiver, and remain unchanged himself during the act. In the other mode (autocommunicative function) - when one is transferring information to oneself - the sender internally reorganizes and rebuilds his own psyche. This is so, because the personality can be explained as an individual collection of codes which are partly individual and partly social. The social part of this internal code collection is changed during the autocommunicative process. (Broms 1988a: 128-129)
Autocommunication, semiosphere.
Why do people communicate to themselves? Lotman connects this mode of communication to the mythical consciousness of man (which Jung called the "collective unconscious"). According to Lotman any kind of text can have two modes: an "everyday" made which transfers additive information, for example, an earthquake in China of which we have not heard about, and an autocommunicative mode which is brought about via emotive codes. If a text somehow "touches" a person, it has an autocommunicational meaning and code. If the earthquake in China directly touches us and scares us, it has autocommunicational meaning, if not, then to this sphere of additive information, which never touches the receiver very closely. (Broms 1988a: 130)
An emotions-based interpretation of autocommunication.

Posner, Roland 1988. Semiotics vs. antropology: Alternatives in the explication of "culture". In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 151-184.

In Herder's view, human facultien are progressively cultivated generation after generation, and the resulting "chain of culture and enlightenment" is what he conceives of as tradition. (Posner 1988: 153)
That is, his "evolutionary concopt of culture" implied progressive attitudes, not conserving or merely maintaining a form of living.
This heterogeneous list of items is employed by Klemm to characterize "Cultur." It was taken over with few modifications by the British-American anthropologist Edward B. Taylor in his book Primitive Culture (London 1871). There, on page 1, Tylor defines:
"Culture or Civilization, taken in its widest ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."
Having given a characterization of what constitutes the totality of a culture, Tylor could enter into tho investigation and comparison of specific cultures, Hundreds of anthropologists have attempted to systematize his definition. Their efforts up to the 1950s are neatly summarized in Kroeber & Kluckhohn's Critical Review of Concopts and Definitions of "Culture"' published in 1952. (Posner 1988: 154)
Good to know.
After Cassirer, many semioticians have claimed culture te be a central object f investigation for semioticians, among them Bogatyrev (1936, 1971), Mukarovsky (1936, 1977, 1987), and Jakobson (1953, 1968, 1975) of the Prague School, Lotman (1967, 1970-73, 1985), Uspenski, Ivanov, Toporov, and Piatigorsky (1975( of the Moscow-Tartu School, as well as Barthes (1964), Greimas (1966, 1970), Bense (1967), Rossi-Landi (1968, 1975), Eco (1975, 1976), Serge (1977, 1979, 1980, 1984), and others. (Posner 1988: 155)
Neat list.
Examples of semioses containing all components mentioned are the production and comprehension of a verbal utterance (Saussure 1916), the conveying of a message through emblematic gestures (Ekman & Friesen 1969), as well as the operation and observation of traffic lights (Prieto 1966). Sign processes of this type are called "communication" by Buyssens (1943) and Mounin (1970) and "actes semiques" by Prieto (1966, 1975). (Posner 1988: 157)
However, there is a fair amount of agreement about the branches of anthropology, their respective domains of investigation, and their basic objects. Anthropology may be divided into social, material, and cultural anthropology.
(a) Social anthropology studies social culture, i.e. society; a society consists of institutions, and the rituals performed by them. An example is the institution of the Christian church and the rituals associated with its services.
(b) Material anthropology studies the material culture of society, i.e. civilization; civilization consists of artifacts and the skills of producing and using them. Examples of artifarts are those used in religious institutions such as crosses, rosaries, church songs, and bibles.
(c) Cultural anthropology studies mental culture of society insofar as it is manifested in civilization, i.e. it studies culture in the narrow sense. The mental culture manifested in the civilization of a society consists of mentifacts (i.e. systems of ideas and values) and the conventions governing their use and expression. Examples of religious mentifacts are the Catholic saints and their emblems, the classification of sins with the corresponding terminology, and the gestural codes of priests.
The unifying interest of anthropology as a whole is in the transmission of social culture (institutions and rituals), material culture (artifacts and skills), and mental culture (mentifacts and conventions) from one generation to the next. The mechanisms of transmission are known as "tradition" (cf. Mead 1912, Thurnwalt 1936-37 and 1950, Lotman & Usponski 1971, and Lotman et al. 1975). (Posner 1988: 161)
An outline of anthropology. Also, this is probably where AR got the term "mentifacts."
American anthropologists (cf. e.g. Blumenthal 1937, Bernard 1942, Sorokin 1947, White 1949, Kluckhohn 1951) tend to put mental culture and material culture together under the term "culture" and contrast it with "society." (Posner 1988: 162)
culture/society is just as insoluble as behavior/action
Society is structured by the relations that hold individuals together. Each society has a material and a mental culture. But the boundaries between the two societies may differ from the boundaries that exist between their material and mental cultures (cf. Clarke 1978). Individuals belonging to one society may also carry parts of the mental culture of another society. Artifacts belonging to one society may also be reproduced and used by another society. Mentifacts underlying the behavior of individuals in one society may, as well, underlie the behavior of individuals in another society. (Posner 1988: 164)
John and his Shakespeare, Winston and his diary, souvenire and limerick, Montag and his precious books.
There are semioticians and anthropologists who think it inadequate to leave purposeless artifacts out of consideration in the study of culture, among them David Schneider (1968:71) and Umberto Eco (1976:21-28). They argue that everything that has been conceptualized in a society is part of its culture. Conceptualization in this sense need not necessarily be connected with verbal formulation nor with the existence of a lexical unit; it only requires that something be an element in a category of objects that plays a role in the conventions of that society. Not only are tools with standard functions usually conceptualized, but also types of artifacts that have no specific or standard purpose.
This approach accounts for those parts of material culture which are left out in tex-semiotic analysis. It is extremely inclusive, since it declares everything for which a society has a concept to be part of its culture. In this way not only walking stics and cars, but also birds and unicorns (which are not artifacts in the sense defined), as well such things as black holes would become part of our Western culture, because wehave conceived of and verbalized them. (Posner 1988: 172)
Think of concursive foregrounding - bringing something into existence merely by giving it name. E.g. verbal magic.

Toivonen, Pirjo-Maija 1988. Yu. M. Lotman's concept of poetic language and poetic text: The example of Baudelaire's Spleen II. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 191-197.

This process of the Lotmanian interpretation is followed by one which Lotman also calls a "contrastive comparison." In this process the interpreter places the secondary structures already perceived into either paradigm named by the opposition of the world model, thus reconstructing the message model of the poetic writer. The dominant already reconstructed from Baudelaire's poem is placed into the paradigm on the left side, into dysphoric intentional consciousness. On the contrary, Jauss in his second reading ends up interpreting the remembering of the lyrical subject as euphoric. He accounts for his intorpretation by claiming that the contrasting catalogs of the phenomena in 'the chest of drawers' and 'the boudoir' should express "a beautiful disorder," which beauty should have its culmination with 'the thick locks wrapped in receipts'. But equally well these metaphorically contrasting catalogs can express dysphoric intentional consciousness, the vanity even of beautiful rememberances of a lived life, their unavoidable immersion in its triviality ond hardness. The metaphoric expression (personification) mon triste cerveau, which is compared with 'the chest of drawers' and is clearly situated into dysphoric intentional consciousness, supports the dysphoria of those contrasting phenomena in a special way. Jauss does not accent 'the sadness of the brain'. But every difference in his attitude arises from the fact that he has not the real world model of the poem which gives a opportunity to find the real attitudes of the poetic writer. He seems, in Lotman's words, to force the poem into his own poetic language and therefore to treat Baudelaire's poetic text as a non-poetic one. (Toivonen 1988: 195)
Rainer Warning, a representative of reception oesthetics, has criticized Jauss's hermeneutic concept of the horizon of expectation for containing two kinds of systems' "a work system" and "an interpretation system," and those systems are not clearly distinguished from each other. Lotman's reception theory does not mix those concepts. His mode of reception is based on the following conception: poetic language, that is, the individual secondary system building a poetic text, is the most dynamic system capable of changing other systems, our whole world cognition. In spite and because of that, it is secondary, situated near the boundaries oi intentional consciousness, creating an individual uniquo 'play' of meanings, it is able to give us both pleasure and cognition. We can come to a conclusion: the pleasure of the poetic text arises from beyond the boundary of the intentional consicousness - in the words of Baudelaire's poem Spleen II - 'the song of a graphite phinx', but it joins into the action of 'the sad brian'. (Toivonen 1988: 197)

Yamaguchi, Masao 1988. "Center" and "periphery" in Japanese culture - in light of Tartu semiotics. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 199-219.

It is especially difficult ta include in cultural studies those aspects about which people find it difficult to speak - such as dirty, dismal, ambiguous or slimy aspects. (Yamaguchi 1988: 201)
These adjectives aptly describe aspects of nonverbal communication.
There has been a tendency throughout history to reject cultural aspects related to the body - such as excrements, sexual intercourse and bursts of tears or laughter as being unclear or impure - while examining social phenomena. But, we find in human behavior aspects beyond physical or physiological control. In human behavior, there is a surface principle which obeys the rules and fulfills what is supposed to be done and a deep principle beyond the control of society or culture which works automatically. This deep behavior, outside the rules of society, occurs for instance in such acts as dreams. (Yamaguchi 1988: 202-203)
The uncertainty of bodily action, represented by the tricksters in myths, the clowns in daily life and the possessed in religieus events is as important aspect of kinetics. Today, we are gradually creating techniques te decipher the body's uncertainty which has long been regarded as peripheral. In this way, cultural theorists are developing methods by which to incorporate the other side of culture - that side which has been out of scope. One such effort is currently taking place in the cultural semiotic group at Tartu University. (Yamaguchi 1988: 203)
"Reembodying semiotics of culture."
In any political system, those who are vulnerable to exclusion are mixed people, people who are not pure. Stalin, in wanting to create the image of a loyal and unified people, coined the image of Trotskists as associated with foreigners in opposition to the pure communist. In relation to the expression of time, each culture has some traditions which say that ghosts appear and disappear during transitional times - like at twilight or at dawn. (Yamaguchi 1988: 214)
Trotski = Goldstein.

Broms, Henri 1988b. Unusual forms of commercial culture. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 223-231.

Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975), who was a Russian philologist, philosopher, psychologist and sociologist, produced four masterpieces of scientific work in different fields in the short time between the years 1927-29. In fact we are posed in front of a Bakhtin myshery. As Titunik says (Bakhtin 1976), there exists a Bakhtin problem. Firstly, Bakhtin wrote under the names of his pupils; why did he not use his own name? Secondly, how could a major scientist in our time be totally forgotten for 50 years? He wrote a book on linguistics, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (under the name of Voloshinov in 1929), on psychoanalysis, Freudianism (under the name of Voloshinov in 1927), two books on literary theory (e.g. Problems of Dostoevsky's Creative Arts 1929). (To find out more about the Bakhtin problem, see Titunik's prefaces in the above-mentioned works by Voloshinov.) The man and his work fell into oblivion during the Stalinist era, and his pupils were taken to the camps - a typical fate for a Russian luminary of this century. (Broms 1988b: 224)
In a similar manner, some great German thinkers have as if fallen from the face of the Earth, with no one translating their works (e.g. Sombart).
In Marxian thinking, all human experiences get commercialized: love, friendship, caring and so on become commodities (Marx-Engels, Werke, Berlin, Dietz 1972, vol. 23, p. 85-98 and 108). Because money is the root of society these human experiences become symbols or fetishes of money. Everything, even the noblest of feelings, is bought and sold - everything becomes a consumer fetish. Herbert Marcuse developed this idea further in his One Dimensional Man (1964). The one dimensional Western man hunts for commodities only, he becomes a collector of empty fetishes (Marx-Engels, Werke, p. 93-98), not of human love, friendship or devotion. (Broms 1988b: 226)
This much I knew from the little Marx I have read for the course in political philosophy. He claimed that the family will dissipate, dissolve into a monetary relation. This obviously did not happen, his economical determinism was erroneous. As for Marcuse's one dimensional man, it souds awfully lot like American Psycho (the cult film). In my own work, I'm seemingly taking a related approach, treating the commodification of bodily behaviour as "nonverbal capital." Not the best idea one can think of, but I'm sure there's something to it.

Danov, David K. 1988. Bakhtin and Lotman: Novel and culture. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 233-244.

The concept of a model, briefly formulated, will serve as our starting point. A model may be conceived of as a fundamental formulation in abstract terms of a given theoretical view affording a clarifying instance intended to reflect or encapsule a certain hypothesis regarding some aspect of the world. As an aggregate of characteristic elements, comprising a certain abstract schema, it sets forth a corresponding set of determinate relations ,whose purpose is to enable the analyst to grasp the various kinds of relationships that bind together members of a complex, hierarchically structured organization. (Danov 1988: 233-234)
General musings about (plesumably "theoretical") models.
Just as Bakhtin posits the word as the basic constituent element of an utterance, the School conceives of the text as the fundamental significant unit of culture. From this linked perspective, a given text is constituted as a series of utterances, while culture is understood as an aggregate of texts. Each text reflects to some degree the culture in which it is produced. Conversely, however, no individual text is capable of modeling that culture accurately in its entirety. As meaningful fragment, therefore, the text mirrors the greater context of which it is a part in a necessarily truncated but potentially significant form. (Danov 1988: 234)
It is probably inevitable that at some point I should systematize all of the tenets of the textualist perspective that might aid me in my quest in reembodying semiotics of culture. That is, I should create a model of different definitions of text as a heuristic device and try them on for approaching nonverbal behaviour. This will not be a simple task, but perhaps it will enable me to build a bridge from the textualist approach to the "organicist" approach.
In The Structure of the Artistic Text, Lotman conceives of verbal art in much the same mimetic terms as above, when he observes that "the artistic message creates an artistic model of some concrete phenomenon; artistic language models the universe." Perhaps most to the point, he says: "A work of art is a finite model of an infinite universe... a work of art is in principle a reflection of the infinite in the finite... It is the reflection of one reality in another..." From these linked perspectives we may understand a model to be an "analogue of reality," which man employs in the process of cognition and in the making in art. (Danov 1988: 237)
I sense a distinct philosophical flavouring in this. I'm not sure, but it could be Schelling, whose idea is mediated here. If I remember correctly, then one merely needs to replace the words "infinite" with "continuous" and derive the oroginal statement that art is something to the effect of "the continuous captured in the discontinuous."

Majava, Heikki 1988. On Bakhtin's psychoanalytical views. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 245-254.

The aim of Freud's psychoanalytic process is to emancipate the individual from neurosis of intrapersonal dependencies through self-reflection. (Majava 1988: 245)
A clear statement.
Bakhtin views the psychoanalytical school as a sectarian group, in which Freud and his students quote anly themselves and refer only to one another - and, in more recent times, quote Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as well. The rest of the world hardly even exists for them. Freud never made any serious attempt to delineate his doctrine with respect to other psychological trends and methods in concrete and detailed terms. To put it clinically, Bakhtin sees psychoanalysis as an "autistic," "isolated" movement. (Majava 1988: 246)
Critique, critique; disposing of mystique.
A person's character and behavior are in complete dissociation from the body, the bodily constitution, and, in general, from any kind of material environment. In the final analysis, external reality for Freud is merely the "reality principle" on the same level with the "pleasure principle." Bakhtin disagrees that psychoanalysis has its objective basis in biology. One can, with great conviction, speak of Freud's psychologization and subjectivization of biology, argues Bakhtin. Thus, psychoanalysis faithfully adheres to the method of internal, subjective observation. (Majava 1988: 247)
I disagree as well, on the grounds that a person's character and behaviour are very much associated with the body and the environment.
Objective social factors determine the verbal components of behavior. The social environment gives people words and controls their verbal reactions. The verbal is not private property, but the property of a social group (milieu). We shall never react to the real, substantive roots of any given single utterance if we look for them within the confines of a single, individual organism, even when that utterance concerns what appears to be the most private and most intimate side of a person's life. (Majava 1988: 249-250)
Too logocentristic. The same could be stated about nonverbal behaviour: to understand the behaviour of an individual one has to know or be aquainted with the behaviour of other members of the socium.

Riikonen, H. K. 1988. Menippean satire: Some Bakhtinian aspects. In: Broms, Henri and Rebecca Kaufmann (eds.), Semiotics of Culture: Proceedings of the 25th Symposium of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Imatra, Finland, 27th-29th July, 1987. Helsinki: Arator Inc., 255-277.

Bakhtin is well aware of the heterogeneousness of the Hippocratic corpus. According to him, however, there are some interesting common themes and principles. All these writings present a grotesque image of the body. It is peculiar to their presentation of the body, that the exterior aspect of the body be non-distinct from the interior one, and that the exchange between the body and the world is constantly emphasized. This presentation of the body can assume many different forms. In the light of the world-spread doctrine of the four elements in the worrld entitiled "The Winds," cosmic life and the life of the human body are drawn intimately together by the element of air. In the treatise "Air, Water, and Localities," the relationship and concrete resemblance of man to the natural landscape becomes obvious. The essay, "On the Number Seven," represents the earth as a huge human body: each geographical part of the earth and each land corresponds to a definite part of the body; furthermorre, the spiritual features and the way of life of the population depends on their anatomical localization. (Riikonen 1988: 257)
Trivia on an idea analogous to the body politic - body cosmic.
In the chapter on free-thinkers (Des esprits forts) La Bruyere explicitly explains how death and laughter are incompatible. It is not suitable for a dying man to make jokes. Death is such a severe matter that it is not appropriate to joke when one is going to die; one has to be serious. Rabelais, like Petronius, puts death and laguhter is a close series linking them closely together. This kind of linking death with laughter was attested not only by his book. According to a well-known anecdote, even on his death-bed he was ready to make jokes, as witnessed by his statement: "Beati sunt qui moriuntur in Domino." As we remember, he at the same time put a domino on his face. (Riikonen 1988: X)
I'm not exactly sure why I had noted this paragraph as worthy of being quoted here. It looks like an evaluative/normative statement. Surely one can be jocular in one's death-bed if one wishes to and has the aptitude to do so... I don't see why not. Death is not serious for everyone everywhere.


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