Brilliantly articulating the potent intersections of semiotic and linguistic anthropology, Signs and Society demonstrates how a keen appreciation of signs helps us better understand human agency, meaning, and creativity. Inspired by the foundational contributions of C. S. Peirce and Ferdinand de Saussure, and drawing upon key insights from neighboring scholarly fields, noted anthropologist Richard J. Parmentier develops an array of innovative conceptual tools for ethnographic, historical, and literary research. His concepts of "transactional value," "metapragmatic interpretant," and "circle of semiosis," for example, illuminate the foundations and effects of such diverse cultural forms and practices as economic exchanges on the Pacific island of Palau, Pindar's Victory Odes in ancient Greece, and material representations of transcendence in ancient Egypt and medieval Christianity. Other studies complicate the separation of emic and etic analytical models for such cultural domains as religion, economic value, and semiotic ideology. Provocative and absorbing, these fifteen pioneering essays blaze a trail into anthropology's future while remaining firmly rooted in its celebrated past.
Richard J. Parmentier is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. He is the author of The Sacred Remains: Myth, History, and Polity in Belau; Signs in Society: Studies in Semiotic Anthropology; and The Pragmatic Semiotics of Cultures. With Elizabeth Mertz, he coedited Semiotic Mediation: Sociocultural and Psychological Perspectives. He is Editor-in-Chief of Signs and Society; Affiliated Researcher, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Korea); and Foreign Member, Doctoral Program in Humanities, University of Turin (Italy).
Acknowledgments Part I: Foundations of Peircean Semiotics 1. Semiotic Anthropology 2. Charles S. Peirce 3. Representation, Symbol, and Semiosis: Signs of a Scholarly Collaboration 4. Peirce and Saussure on Signs and Ideas in Language 5. Troubles with Trichotomies: Reflections on the Utility of Peirce's Sign Trichotomies for Social Analysis 6. Semiotic Degeneracy of Social Life: Prolegomenon to a Human Science of Semiosis Part II: Critical Commentaries and Reviews 7. Representing Semiotics in the New Millennium 8. The World Has Changed Forever: Semiotic Reflections on the Experience of Sudden Change 9. Description and Comparison of Religion 10. It's About Time: On the Semiotics of Temporality 11. Anthropological Encounters of a Semiotic Kind 12. Two Marxes: Evolutionary and Critical Dimensions of Marxian Social Theory Part III: Comparative Perspectives on Semiosis 13. Money Walks, People Talk: Systemic and Transactions Dimensions of Palauan Exchange 14. Representing Transcendence: The Semiosis of Real Presence / With Massimo Leone 15. The `Savvy Interpreter': Performance and Interpretation in Pindar's Victory Odes / With Nancy Felson List of References Index