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Gresham's Law, Conceptual Semantics, and Semiotics of Authoritarianism

Do “Bad” Concepts Drive Out “Good” Ones?

Kirill Postoutenko

The aim of this article is to explore to what extent the rule of economics commonly known as Gresham's law (“bad money drives out good money”) can be extrapolated to verbal language (“bad concepts drive out good concepts”). Consequently, the goal of this article is twofold. First, for Gresham's law to be applied simultaneously to money and language, its unfortunate (“good”/“bad”) and obscure (“drives out”) wording should be clarified. Second, one should identify the contexts in which the validity of the law could be assessed best, and run a very preliminary test. For this purpose, the circulation of the adjective (“hard”, “strong”, or “stable” in Russian) in the word combination (“hard currency”) in use in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s was scrutinized.

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Denis Vuka

Albania’s socialist regime—the last socialist government in Europe—ensued in 1992. Methods I apply a social semiotic analysis of visual communication drawn from the work of Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen. 13 By offering a “grammar of visual design

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‘Coming To Look Alike’

Materializing Affinity in Japanese Foster and Adoptive Care

Kathryn E. Goldfarb

and fostering are not easily recognized as kinship. I suggest that material resemblance is taken up as a pragmatic semiotics ( Silverstein 1993 ; Stasch 2009) through which people self-reflexively interpret the signs that count as relatedness

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Death of a Statesman – Birth of a Martyr

Martyrdom and Memorials in Post–Civil War Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

extended: the public demand for the truth about his murder came to be interpreted as seeking the truth, not only for Hariri but for ‘all the bloody incidents of the past’ ( Haugbolle 2006: 68 ). Thus, in a semiotic sense, seeking the ‘truth’ behind Hariri

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Introduction

(De)materializing Kinship—Holding Together Mutuality and Difference

Kathryn E. Goldfarb and Caroline E. Schuster

kinship in order to explore two interrelated concepts that are of vital importance to understanding the wider stakes of relatedness today: the politics of value and semiotics. Put another way, we put forward a perspective on materiality rooted in

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Educating for Nationhood

A Semiotic Reading of the Memorial Hall for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders

Patrizia Violi

This article analyzes the Memorial Hall for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, opened in its present form in 2007 to commemorate the massacre perpetrated by the Japanese in 1937, when in the course of six weeks a significant number of harmless civilians were brutally slaughtered. The memorial is a highly complex semiotic object: it includes a large museum but is also, and perhaps above all, a huge thematic park that occupies an extremely large surface area of seventy-four thousand square meters. Through a close reading of the site, this article seeks to show how the Nanjing Memorial, more than serving the function of conservation and transmission of a tragic, traumatic memory, is mostly a monument to Chinese nationhood, an important step in the construction of a new national identity.

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The New Spanish Memory Comics

The Example of Cuerda de presas

Anne Magnussen

Since the end of the 1990s, more and more Spanish comics have focused on the recent Spanish past, including the memory of the Civil War (1936–1939) and the succeeding dictatorship. This article offers an analysis of a particular comics volume, Cuerda de presas (2005) by Jorge García and Fidel Martínez, and discusses the way in which it interprets the role of the past in Spanish society thirty years after the political transition to democracy. I argue that Cuerda de presas participates in the questioning of the dominant memory about the past. It does this by undermining narrative coherence and by pointing to the plural and unstable characteristics of memories. Charles Peirce's semiotics constitutes the framework for the analysis, according to which there is a dynamic relationship between Cuerda de presas and Spanish society.

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Dancing on the Threshold

A Cultural Concept for Conditions of Being Far from Salvation

Gregor Rohmann

“Dancing mania” and “St. Vitus dance” were culturally formed illness concepts that enabled late medieval people in the Rhine area to act out states of liminality. The semiotics of these trace back to ancient Platonic cosmology, which had been transmitted into medieval theology by late antique Neoplatonism. In this article the iteration of these motifs especially through the early and high Middle Ages is scrutinized. When “dancing mania” emerged in the fourteenth century it was thus neither an early case of mass hysteria nor a particular form of religious deviance, as is still assumed frequently.

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David Hawkes

. Derivatives thus separate value from its referent, give it a price, and allow it to reproduce autonomously. They lay bare the semiotic nature of all financial value, for the recognition of exchange-value is already a successful imposition of image on reality

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Agustín Fuentes and Eduardo Kohn

Proposal 1: Anthropology Beyond the Human Eduardo Kohn

Ethnographic attention to human-animal relations in Amazonia reveals the constitutively semiotic nature of all life.This helps us appreciate more broadly the ways in which semiotic logics that are not necessarily human or language-like underlie the modes by which thoughts and lives form associations. This changes our understanding of relationality, arguably anthropology’s central concern.

Proposal 2: Humans as Niche Constructors, as Primates and with Primates: Synergies for Anthropology in the Anthropocene Agustín Fuentes

Humans are primates and consummate niche constructors. If we hope to be both relevant and successful investigators in the multispecies word of the Anthropocene, we need an anthropological practice that places humans and other organisms in integrated and shared ecological and social spaces. Ethnoprimatology and a constructivist evolutionary theory help us move towards a place where the biological and social are folded into an integrative anthropology, in which a myriad of entangled agents and theoretical perspectives are central in investigating the processes of becoming human.