Social semiotics as praxis : text, social meaning making, and Nabokov's Ada


Social semiotics as praxis : text, social meaning making, and Nabokov's Ada

Paul J. Thibault

(Theory and history of literature, v. 74)

University of Minnesota, c1991

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 285-293) and indexes



The past 15 years have witnessed a renewed interest in the theoretical and epistemological issues which underpin the institutionalized study of literary texts. In particular, the poststructuralist analysis has challenged many of the institutional, ethical, and political practices in which this enterprise is conducted. In thius book Thibault re-focuses on the text to build a unifying discourse for understanding the processes by which human meaning is formulated. He aims to renew the semiotic project in ways which not only develop new theoretical and methodological resources for studying and social meaning, but also redefine the language in which these issues are being discussed. The author's approach is an extension of the linguistic and semiotic theories originally formulated by Michael Halliday and others in the London-Syndey school of systemic-functional linguistics. Halliday's theory is drawn on in order to develop a detailed form of textual analysis whixh is sensitive to the social contexts of specific human activities - social semiotics at work.


  • The conceptual framework of a praxis-oriented social semiotic theory
  • contextualization dynamics and insider/outsider relations
  • the sociosemantics of quoting and reporting relations
  • contextual dynamics and the recursive analysis of insider and outsider relations in quoting and reporting speech
  • redundancy, coding, and punctuation in the contextual dynamics of quoting and reporting speech
  • intertextuality
  • text, discourse and intertextuality
  • intertextuality, social heteroglossia, and text semantics
  • subjects, codes, and discursive practice
  • social meaning making, textual politics, and power
  • the new-materialist social semiotic subject.

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