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Unfolding the Semiotic Web in Urban Discourse

In Scientific Cooperation with Daina Teters


Edited By Zdzislaw Wasik

The main focus of this volume is on urbanity as a discursive way of human life in the city. Discourse is specified here in terms of semiotic codes and processes that link city dwellers as communicating selves into interpersonal and intersubjective collectivities when they create and interpret similar meanings embodied in material bearers. Accordingly, the unfolding of the semiotic web is understood, firstly, as detecting and evaluating the growth and manifestation of the sphere of meaning-bearers or a sequence of meaning-bearing events, and secondly, as identifying and explaining the constituents and aspects of discourse in the light of signs and/or sign-processes that aggregate individual participants of communication into discursive linkages on a lower level and discursive communities – on a higher level of social grouping. Some contributions deal with the discursive properties of human individuals in urban environments, and some others are devoted either to the meta-discourses on the city or discourses in the city.


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Introduction: Unfoding the semiotic web in urban discourse 7


Introduction Unfolding the semiotic web in urban discourse The idea to formulate the investigative framework for the following collective volume, which encompasses a number of papers devoted to the semiotics on the city and the semiotics in the city, has originated from the editor’s interest in the visual communication pertaining to the expres- sions of interpersonal distance in the urban environment during the last twelve years. As for today, this interest domain has borne fruits in some thematic proposals of doctoral dissertation research opportunities. The initiative to organize a workshop devoted to the semiotics of the city had been undertaken in Riga at the Metamind 2008 conference. I had discussed this possibility with Daina Teters (Head of International Re- search and Art Project: Metamind, Latvian Academy of Culture, Riga, Latvia) and Roland Posner (Head of Research Center for Semiotics, Ber- lin University of Technology). Subsequently, I had submitted a summa- rized proposal of the workshop to the Director of the International Com- municology Institute Richard L. Lanigan (from Southern Illinois Univer- sity at Carbondale) at the International Symposium on Cultural Semiot- ics, in Nanjing, China, 15–17 November 2008. To begin with working activities, an idea had been launched to con- voke the Consultant Assembly for Discussing the Idea of Urban Dis- course in Semiotic Terms, which was organized in Wrocław between Feb. 27 and March 01, 2009 by the Committee of Philological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław Branch, and the Philologi- cal School of...

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