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Unformatted text preview: er, they may exhibit a range of providing the link between the signifier and signified. Convention is particularly valuable in meanings, depending on context of use” (Conkey and Rowntree 461). discussions of symbols, where there is a great choice of signifier” (Hurwitz 26). Generally it is possible to say that anything can in certain circumstances be viewed as
a symbol of certain meaning. Wendy Lee-Hurwitz offers short general list of things which can
serve symbols: 11 12 1.2 Language, Culture and Symbols Children are naturally curious and thus, explicitly, adults formally describe the meanings of The research of signs and symbols was first narrowed to the study of language. It was symbols to the future generation. Children grow in certain cultural environment and this Ferdinand de Saussure came up with the idea that principles of language study can be environment shapes their understanding and interpretation of symbols surrounding them. broadened to the study of whole culture. The basic assumption behind the interpretation of “Symbols are a form of shorthand, encapsulating cultural knowledge in particular ways” (Lee- symbols is the idea of the structured system of reality as introduced first in language by Hurwitz 25) Ferdinand de Saussure and then further developed into the fields of culture and society by The use of symbols wholly depends on the cultural contexts. Culture expresses itself with Claude Levi-Strauss and other representatives of the structuralist theory. Bignell explains, symbols which create it. Symbol is understandable only to those who use the same code of “Saussure believed, that language is made up of signs (like words) which communicate thought, to those whose cultural model is the same or at least has close to them (Copans 72). meanings, and that all kinds of other things which communicate meaning could potentially be Semiotic and symbolic activities are identical in Levy-Strauss’ structuralism: culture is an studied in the same way as linguistic signs” (Bignell 5). ensemble of “ symbolic systems” such as language, marriage rules, economical relationships, Since the use and the creation of symbols is inborn competence, the other system of acquiring art, science, and religion. The possibility of the mutual transformation among structure is of symbolic relations is needed. Lee-Hurwitz claims that people acquire the meaning of permitted by the existence of a more profound symbolic ability of the human mind, which symbols in their childhood as they are presented with them. “People are gradually exposed to organizes the whole of our experience according to the same modalities (Eco symbols as children and gradually come to understand them trough their presentation in series 134). of contest, learning over time what they mean to the adults around them” (Lee-Hurwitz 30). Hastigs and Wilson claim:”All culture is based on shared symbols, and all social and political She distinguishes between the explicit the implicit presentation of symbols to children. systems are structured and expressed through complex relations of symbols and rituals. Symbols are presented to the children explicitly and implicitly. Implicitly, the process Symbols give people a cognitive map of the world. They provide order and meaning to those is so constant to appear to breathe through osmosis-that is simply by being presented who recognize them, and are bewildering, in not invisible, to those who cannot decode them with a world full of symbols, children pick up” their meanings over time through (Hastings, Wilson 65). repetition, with no one deliberately teaching the meanings. One part of why this is
possible is because symbols are such basic parts of the social world, whether or not
adults attend to the matter consciously, children are exposed to the symbols of their
culture every time they observe or participate in any sort of formal or informal event,
and they can hardly help figuring out that symbols are important (ibid.). 13 14 1.3 Function of symbols
The cultural symbols serve several important purposes in the life of people and processes. They act as delegates; stand for, or in place of, that to which we refer. They
even stand for us; symbols are our own representatives. (Nichols 1981, 1) nations. They offer the individual the orientation in the web of meanings in his life. They also The use of symbols to delimit territory and control space is human universal. serve as group (nation, class, municipality…) identity markers and by using symbols, these The definition of outsiders, their exclusion and internal cohesion are ef...
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- Spring '14
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