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Language and materialism : developments in semiology and the theory of the subject

Author: Rosalind Coward; John Ellis
Publisher: London ; Boston : Routledge and Paul, 1977.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Structuralism and semiology are perhaps the most significant systems of study have developed this century; they are now central to an astonishing range of fields and disciplines ... This book ... provides an intelligent critical survey of the genesis of that area of the semiological discourse that we have come to know in Britain, in particular the contribution of Saussure, the structuralism of Lévi-Strauss and the  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Coward, Rosalind.
Language and materialism.
London ; Boston : Routledge and Paul, 1977
(OCoLC)644373353
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Rosalind Coward; John Ellis
ISBN: 0710086202 9780710086204 071008627X 9780710086273 0415099072 9780415099073
OCLC Number: 3692936
Description: vii, 165 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: The philosophical context --
The theoretical context and implications of the developments of semiology over the last decade. --
The failure to develop a materialist knowledge of language resulted from the idealism implicit in Saussure's concept of the sign. --
The implications for social sciences based on this concept, in particular for the understanding of ideology. --
Structuralism --
Saussure's founding concepts in linguistic science and their role in the development of structuralism. --
The tension in this theory between a mechanistic version of the action of the structure and the more radical version of the activity of the signifier in the determination of meaning. --
The example of Levi-Strauss, exhibiting both these tendencies, but finally, as with the whole structuralist project, located in the former. --
Semiology as a science of signs --
The early work of semiology. --
Its analysis of the work of ideology in Mythologies, and of the systematic nature of sign systems which seem natural. --
The analysis of literature both in its ideology of realism and its systematic nature as text and as narrative. --
The problems of its basic conceptual divisions (denotation/connotation, etc.) particularly when faced-with the productivity of avant-garde texts, with their assertion of the unconscious and instability of the identity between signifier and signified. --
S/Z --
Realism as a work of linguistic productivity fixed through intertextual connotation. The identity between signifier and signified and its unveiling in Tristram Shandy. --
Barthes's analysis of Balzac's Sarrasine in S /Z in terms of intertextual connotation. How it reveals the sign as an ideological fixing, and the social positionality which supports it. --
Marxism, language, and ideology --
Marxism and the problematic of social relations. The historical materialist analysis of society constituted of three practices: economics, politics, ideology. --
The underdevelopment of the theory of ideology in traditional Marxism, and Althusser's development of it. --
How an adequate understanding of ideology can only be reached when it is seen as the fixing of a certain subject in relation to a certain social meaning. The concept of 'imaginary identifications'. --
This problematic demands attention to two areas that Marxism has traditionally repressed: the question of the subject, and that of language. --
The assumption of a heterogeneous subject in the philosophy of Marxism, dialectical materialism. --
On the subject of Lacan --
How Lacan has provided a materialist theory of the subject consonant with that of dialectical materialism: a subject in process. --
The process by which the human animal is produced as a language-using subject, the price of this process being the creation of an unconscious: that which is not permitted access to consciousness. --
Determination by language: man without cause, the only cause being language. --
Entry into language involves a splitting of the heterogeneous: primary and seconqary processes; creation of the unconscious; imaginary and symbolic relations. --
--
The critique of the sign --
The sign in modern linguistics re-examined. --
Phenomenological premises of structural linguistics; genera rive grammar. Their failure to deal with the extralinguistic: the concerns of psychoanalysis. --
Psychoanalysis has changed the object 'language' for linguistics. --
Negation and the function of judgment. --
The relation of the drives, conscious subject and contradictory outside in Kristeva's work: the Semiotic and the Thetic. --
The implications for a theory of practice: position, destruction, renewal. --
Poetic language: modes of signification which transgress the positions necessitated by sociality. --
Conclusion --
The relation of Freud and Marx: fascism and the family. --
Bibliography --
Index.
Other Titles: Developments in semiology and the theory of the subject
Responsibility: Rosalind Coward and John Ellis.

Abstract:

Structuralism and semiology are perhaps the most significant systems of study have developed this century; they are now central to an astonishing range of fields and disciplines ... This book ... provides an intelligent critical survey of the genesis of that area of the semiological discourse that we have come to know in Britain, in particular the contribution of Saussure, the structuralism of Lévi-Strauss and the decisive shifts achieved by Roland Barthes in the ensuing developments.

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