Semiotic Investigations: Towards an Effective Semiotics

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U of Nebraska Press, 1996 - Social Science - 248 pages
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In Semiotic Investigations, Alec McHoul develops a theory of meaning that he calls "effective semiotics" - a theory that investigates "the ways in which signs have meaning by virtue of their actual uses."
McHoul expounds his theory of effective semiotics - of "meaning-as-use" - in a series of provocative chapters on diverse topics. He begins by examining the relations between semiotics and history and between semiotics and specific communities. He elaborates on the nature of these relations by demonstrating the "effective semiotics" of a particular photograph from the 1880s, episodes from the film Singin' in the Rain and the Batman comics, literary works, children's primers, popular accounts of science, and many other objects, artifacts, and experiences.
Semiotic Investigations advances its own comprehensive theory of signs while ably examining works by such distinguished philosophers and theorists as Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Lyotard, Kuhn, and others. Yet the book is also down-to-earth and clearly written, with an eye towards a startling range of "ordinary" and "uncommon" experiences. It will be required reading for linguists, philosophers, semioticians, anthropologists, literary theorists, and students of cultural studies.
 

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Contents

Signifying History
3
Framing Photographs
19
Culture and Communiry
41
Signs and Notsigns
55
Reflexivity Problems and Solutions
91
Intelligibility Actionability and Historicity
131
Signing in the Rain
147
iz Gatekeeping Logic
165
Analytic Ethics
191
Notes
229
Index 143
243
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About the author (1996)

Alec McHoul is an associate professor and chair of communication studies at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

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