Waves of semiosis is it about time? On the semiotic anthropology of change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter explores the theoretical gap between the Saussurean rigidity of change of syatem and Peircean vicissitudes of change in system, and the role culture plays in it through an ethnographical observation of sudden change, especially of the sociocultural processes of memorization of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster. A semiotically informed investigation of a struggle of interpretative grounds in the midst of sudden change (where the previous presuppositions become futile) allows social scientists to examine semiosis in its representational and determinative axes as it proliferates, is blocked, and/or is manipulated in becoming meaningful through multiple temporalities condensed in real time. The chapter argues that a Peircean conceptualization of the index’s dependence on both the past (icons) and the future (symbols) informs its peculiar real-time on significance of becoming meaning-full through, and suggests that any semiotic anthropological analysis of change has to take into account the past, present, and future in continuum though not necessarily in a linear order in understanding a semiosis of, in and through society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Semiotics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789401794046
ISBN (Print)9789401794039
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


  • Change
  • Culture
  • Disaster
  • Japan
  • Memory
  • Semiosis


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