Abstracts of the Articles / Résumés des articles

Nº 15

Paul PRIVATEER : "Circuits, Simulations and Viruses: A Case Study of Media Brandscapes"

In this article Privateer investigates the gradual merging, within the public imagination, of media per se and commercial branding in advertising and marketing. Their amalgamation means that advertising will become a dominant and privileged source of information and that ultimately product data will form and shape consciousness. In the end, the author warns, people will 'become products' because their identities will be derived from the semiotic lexicon of designer markets.

     [ Article in English]

Peter WILLOWS: "Gestalt Psychology, Semiotics and the Modern Arabic Novel"

Interdisciplinary by design, ideas in Gestalt psychology (perception theory), tandems ideas with some of Saussure’s work in aesthetics, specifically his parole and langue model. Gestalt describes too, the eye seeing incomplete images as complete, arranging patterns into representations, as well as, the brain’s instant processing of images into ideas. Mahfouz’s Miramar, Kanafani’s Men in the Sun, and al-Rahman Munif’s Endings, are works rife characters reacting to such examples of this Semiotic-Gestalt pairing. Also at study are the novel’s structuring devices that arrange the plot into patterns.

     [Article in English]

Dimitrios THANASOULAS: "Fictitious Discourse in Language Teaching"

This article explores the failings of discourse used for teaching purposes as an idealized 'native speaker' in EFL teaching. Through an analysis of elliptical structures and conventions of correctness, Thanasoulas critiques the narrowness of rigid structures created by the didactic imagination, which fail to capture the authentic characteristics of verbal speech found in real native speakers. Natural speech is dramatically different from an “ideal coursebook dialogue,” which not only fails to square with reality but also leads to misunderstandings as to the “mechanics” of genuine communication. Unless coursebooks expose learners to the real language, it will be impossible to foster communicative and sociolinguistic competence.

     [Article in English]

Julia CREET: "Semiotics of Gesture in Witnesses of Holocaust Deportations from Hungary"

This article is based on the author's videotaped interviews with both Christian witnesses and Jewish survivors of the deportations from the Hungarian town of Székesfehérvár. It examines four testimonial moments, one textual and three audiovisual, each of which invoke a crucial memory embedded in a gesture, or the lack of one. "The gesture, whether it be sincere or insincere, is always inadequate in some sense, a gesture in the face of a larger inaction; and yet, in the face of larger indifference, one might also find great solace in it." Creet's examination of the gesture combines two meanings of the word: a movement expressive of thought or feeling and that of a small act of the body politic as well.

[Article in English]

Thorsten BOTZ-BORNSTEIN: "Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Dream' and the Semiotics of Strangeness"

Here Botz investigates Tarkovsky's aesthetic through a semiotic analysis of the concept of strangeness within the Russian's filmography. The article reflects upon the ways in which Andrei Tarkovsky represents "facts". For Tarkovsky this project involves questions about time and history in a way it does in few other contemporary artists. For Tarkovsky the approach of transforming facts into what is most commonly called "fiction" is based on sophisticated reflections upon the relationship between history and the present, and these reflections transcend, according to Botz, the playfulness of many classical "postmodern" approaches. Tarkovsky developed his ideas on time in cinema by overcoming the most important cinematic principle of modernity: the Formalist method of montage. Tarkovsky's expressions are at the same time incompatible with those of "postmodern"' attempts of overcoming modernity; and this is due to Tarkovsky's particular view on history, memory and imagination.

     [Article in English]

AS/SA Nº15 (2005.04)   ISSN 1204-6150

Editors/Rédacteurs : Pascal G. Michelucci & Peter G. Marteinson
University of Toronto

© 2005 AS/SA

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