Anth. 147 Notes 9

Anth. 147 Notes 9 - -semiotics (the study of meaning in...

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- semiotics (the study of meaning in healing): -author Lindquist’s challenges: suspension of disbelief, sensitivity to dynamics of power inequalities; she must enter into worlds of her informants while maintaining a critical awareness of the possibility of exploitation/ deceit (Lindquist’s key informant is a woman name Katarina; Lindquist believes in Katarina but must still analyze her techniques) -Lindquist’s key question: how does magical healing work?; semiotics is the study of how meanings are constructed, communicated, and understood (must look at semiotics to answer question) -semiotic concepts: icon (meaning is conveyed by a representational form, a representation based on likeness; examples are the icon of the Virgin Mary, photographs/ portraits, onomatopoeia, metaphoric representation based on likeness such as the human body/ machine metaphor), index (the signifier is related through proximity or causality to the thing represented/ signified; examples are that smoke is an index of fire b/c smoke is caused by and associated with fire, animal prints are indices of actual animal proximity, medical symptoms are indices of sickness [this shows that indexical thinking is relevant to biomedicine as well], a lock of hair reminds you of a loved one), symbol (the relation b/w the signifier/ vehicle of meaning and signified/ object made meaningful is shaped by society and learned; examples include the tar heel representing UNC, the Statue of Liberty representing freedom and the US) -semiotics explains how magical healing works: Lindquist’s key examples include the Crown of Celibacy (crown indicative of status in Russian society; a woman who cannot find love is told she has the Crown of Celibacy, and Katarina removes the crown; crown can work as symbol in eyes of society, and an index at a personal level b/c the crown is “the cause” of woman’s loneliness), the Scarf of Bad Luck, settling
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Anth. 147 Notes 9 - -semiotics (the study of meaning in...

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