The Textual Society

The Textual Society

EDWINA TABORSKY
Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 229
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442682429
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  • Book Info
    The Textual Society
    Book Description:

    Edwina Taborsky moves semiotics away from being a descriptive tool within the humanities and uses its powers of analysis on the organic and social nature of cognition.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8242-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-2)

    This book is an examination of society as an organic entity, a ‘text,’ an active formation of a number of seemingly separate forces. It is also an examination of the human being as an author, reader, and multiple actor within that same text.

    Most analyses of our social reality consider that we experience our lives within the conceptual domain of either the individual or the group. Either the one or the other is seen as the source of cognition, power, and decisionmaking. If we think of the individual we come up with such images as freedom, entrepreneur, hero, leader; at...

  5. 1 The Realities of the Social Text
    (pp. 3-28)

    I begin with an understanding that life is experienced within two realities, that of the individual and that of the group. Together they form the social text.

    Individual reality (IR), the most immediate and perishable within our experience, exists only in current time and comprises the sensual as well as the conceptual experiences of the individual. Although both are existentially real in the sense that each is a distinct experience of the individual in current time, they differ greatly. Further, despite the influence of Cartesian rationalism, it is a contention of this analysis that one cannot move directly from the...

  6. 2 The Action of Textuality
    (pp. 29-48)

    The action of textuality is a specific part of the total action of making meaning. It originates within individual reality and is a cognitive frame of action that exists only in current time. This frame sets up an interactional frame enabling the two IR nodes, the IRS and the IRC, to dialogically interact with the GR ground logic.¹

    As has been discussed, knowledge is not directly reflective of physical reality but is socially defined, developed, and agreed upon as a limited definition of reality and so used by all its members as authors, readers, and actors within the social text....

  7. 3 Otherness in the Production of Meaning
    (pp. 49-72)

    The basic framework I am developing here for the analysis of societies is the interaction of the two realities. The level of individual reality consists of the IRS, the sensual experience, and the IRC, the conceptual experience.¹ Group reality (GR) is the logic or the conceptual organization of the group within which the individual exists. There are therefore three ‘contact points’ or nodes: the IRS, the GR, and the IRC. These nodes are sites for actions – the transformation of energy from a simple to a highly organized state, from the meaningless to the meaningful.

    Meaning is energy that has...

  8. 4 Dialogical Time
    (pp. 73-92)

    Space and time organize energy and are vital aspects of the textual society. The action of textuality both establishes and functions within a spatial boundary (the observer-observed) and both establishes and functions within a temporal frame. This chapter specifically focuses on the nature of time as a factor of conceptual reality.

    Time is a means of organizing energy. There are two types of temporal organization, current and past/future. Current time represents immediately accessible energy, whether sensual or conceptual. It exists in individual reality. The second form is a logic of past/future and is therefore not immediately accessible. I make no...

  9. 5 The Pattern of Cognition
    (pp. 93-138)

    I reject the Word. The perfect Form of Plato, the sealed Sign of Saussure, the static Object of Bacon and Descartes. In these analyses, the Word exists as truth, complete within and of itself, separate from intellectual or sensual contacts, aloof and necessarily untouched and untampered by the motions of interaction. The Word as an autocracy grows despotic. Differences in actualities of the Word are untenable. Differences in perception or understanding of the Word are understood as culpabilities of the agential reading.

    In contrast, the cognition that I have been discussing exists only within action. It lives or rather, becomes...

  10. 6 Textual Change
    (pp. 139-160)

    A society is an organic living system. From a thermodynamic point of view, it is an open system in that it is interactive with the environment; it both takes in and gives back energy in a variety of forms. From an organic point of view, this system is closed, in that the cognitive nature by which it organizes and transforms this energy is stable and finite and the amount of energy a particular structure can deal with is equally stable and finite. As in any organic system, both stability and diversity must exist within its spatiotemporal frame,and they do so...

  11. 7 Two Bodies / Two Powers: Stasis and Heteroglossia in the Textual Society
    (pp. 161-192)

    Society is a dialogical text. It is a continuous interaction and amalgamation of what we may call forces or systems of energy that are differently organized from each other. A key function of the text is its establishment of common, which thereby means social, definitions of reality. By such common definitions both human beings and society become real, with reality understood as a ‘thing in itself with independent qualities that exist in an historical (that is, a spatial and temporal) sense.’ However, contrary to the discursive deconstructionist and phenomenological emphasis on the nature of reality as semantic discourse, society and...

  12. 8 Conclusion: Society as Text
    (pp. 193-200)

    Using Peirce’s definition of a sign as ‘something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity’ (2: 228), a society can be analysed as a distinct sign-unit. As a sign, it is an action, rather than an object, for ‘thought is an action, and ... it consists in a relation’ (5: 399); it is ‘an event’ (1: 321). As an action, society can therefore be considered organic, which means ‘interrelational.’ Common terms used in modern analysis, such as the ‘production and reproduction of culture,’ have provided us with a perspective of society as an object, or even...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 201-206)
  14. Glossary
    (pp. 207-212)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-222)
  16. Index
    (pp. 223-229)