Combined Academic Publishers

Signs in Society

9780253327574: Hardback
Release Date: 22nd June 1994

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 319

Series Advances in Semiotics

Indiana University Press

Signs in Society

Studies in Semiotic Anthropology

Hardback / £44.00

Richard Parmentier takes up Ferdinand de Saussure’s challenge to study the "life of signs in society" by using semiotic tools proposed by Charles Sanders Peirce. He studies how semiotic theory can illuminate highly complex social and cultural practices.


Part I Foundations of Peircean Semiotics

Peirce Divested for Nonintimates
Sign, Object, and Interpretant
Symbols and Legisigns
Language and Logic
The Trichotomies
Scientific Knowledge and Cultural Belief

Peirce’s Concept of Semiotic Mediation
The Fundamental Model of Semiotic Mediation
Semiotic Mediation and the Correlates of the Sign
Thirdness as Mediation
Sign as Medium of Communication

Part II Signs in Ethnographic Context

Transactional Symbolism in Belauan Mortuary Rites
Responses to Death
Initial Funeral Transactions
Burial Practices
Final Transactions

The Political Function of Reported Speech
Authoritative Speech
Ethnographic Context
Ngiraklang’s Speech to the Council
Metapragmatic Elements in the Speech
Textual Pragmatics

Part III Comparative Perspectives on Complex Semiotic Processes

Tropical Semiotics
Levels of Semiosis
Collectivizing and Differentiating Sybolization
Convention and Innateness
Obviational Exchange
Tropes and Narrative
Foi Cultural Semiotics

The Semiotic Regimentation of Social Life
Social Action and Semiotic Text
Content and Type in Ritual Performativity
Institutional Regimentation of Touristic Experience
Ideological Regimentation in Advertising

Part IV Social Theory and Social Action

Comparison, Pragmatic, and Interpretation
Models and Strategies of Comparison
Comparative Philosophy of Religion as a Discipline
Comparison and Interpretation as Practical Reason
Directions for Future Research

Naturalization of Convention
Arbitrariness and Motivation
Naturalization in Social Theory
Naturalization and Conventionalization in Social Reality


RICHARD J. PARMENTIER, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University, is the author of The Sacred Remains: Myth, History, and Polity in Belau and articles on Pacific ethnography, anthropological linguistics, and semiotic theory.