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In between and outside : deconstruction and structuralism on semiotics and its limits.

Wallden, Rea Emilia Alexandra. 2008. In between and outside : deconstruction and structuralism on semiotics and its limits. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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The topic of my thesis is the complicated interconnection between deconstruction and structuralist semiotics, developed around the problematic of the sign and its limits. I argue that Jacques Derrida's project of deconstruction can be seen as an extension of the project of structuralist semiotics in two ways: on the one hand, it extends the applicability of its principles beyond the semiotic realm; on the other, it investigates its conditions of possibility. Thus, to a significant extent, deconstruction develops on the basis of structuralist semiotics; it needs structuralism both as its own foundation and as its exemplary object. I investigate the way deconstruction affects the structuralist definition of signification and its epistemological implications. Louis Hjelmslev and the linguistic Circle of Copenhagen occupy an exceptional position in this context. Derrida's quasi-meta-theory of signification looks in some ways very much like Hjelmslev's stratification, put into motion and thrown out of balance, flattened or multiplied ad infinitum. Moreover, glossematics is probably the closest semiotics can get to posing the question of its limits without exceeding a strictly immanent point of view. Throughout the history of Western metaphysics, signification was defined in terms of mediation and exteriority. Structuralism retains the structure of this definition, while completely emptying it of any metaphysical import. Derrida proceeds to question that same structure; nevertheless, he also retains a residue of dualism so as not to fall back into metaphysics. In a dualistic structure, the question of bridging is of utmost importance. Having defined the object of knowledge as constituted by the semiotic articulation, both structuralist semiotics and deconstruction are faced with the structural impossibility of bridging the epistemological gap. Therefore my thesis, which begins as a study of the limits of semiotics, epistemological and other, turns out also to concern the semiological limits of epistemology.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
ISBN: 9781303196997
Funders: Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, Panayotis and Effie Michelis Foundation
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2014 15:28

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