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Social Semiotics as Praxis

Text, Social Meaning Making, and Nabokov’s Ada

1990
Author:

Paul J. Thibault

Social Semiotics as Praxis

Focusing on Nabokov's Ada, the author rescues semiotics from terminal formalism by developing a conception of social semiotics that is a form of both social action and political praxis.

Focusing on Nabokov's Ada, the author rescues semiotics from terminal formalism by developing a conception of social semiotics that is a form of both social action and political praxis.

“Paul Thibault’s text is a fine example of what literary scholarship is headed toward in our new post-theoretical age. We are beginning to see a form of literary scholarship in which literature is neither the center nor a mere source of illustrations. Thibault provides one of the best examples that I know of this sort of writing.”

In Social Semiotics as Praxis, Paul J. Thibault rescues semiotics from terminal formalism by recognizing that the object of a semiotic inquiry is necessarily the way in which human beings, individually and collectively, make sense of their lives. Focusing on Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada, he develops a conception of social semiotics that is a form of both social action and political praxis.

Thibault’s principal intellectual sources are, among others, Bakhtin, Volosinov, Derrida, Foucault, Gramsci, Habermas, and Halliday. Thibault combines the work of Halliday in particular with is own theories of semiotics to explore the dynamics of quoting and reporting speech and to develop a critique of the categories of “self” and “representation.” Thibault accounts for the meaningful relationships constructed among texts and elaborates on the two main themes of relational levels in texts and the dynamics of contextualization to give voice to a unifying discourse for talking about social meaning making.

Social Semiotics as Praxis

Paul J. Thibault is Professore a contratto at the Facolta di Scienze dell’Educazione of the University of Verona. He has held teaching positions in linguistics, semiotics, and literary theory at Murdoch University and the University of Sydney and in English at the University of Bologna.

Social Semiotics as Praxis

“Paul Thibault’s text is a fine example of what literary scholarship is headed toward in our new post-theoretical age. We are beginning to see a form of literary scholarship in which literature is neither the center nor a mere source of illustrations. Thibault provides one of the best examples that I know of this sort of writing.”