Laboring through Semiotic Labour

Halfway through Eco’s Theory of Semiotics [SS and OS: Thank #@&£!]

Begins: 9:45pm

[SS You did not start writing at 9:45.]

[OS But we did start thinking at 9:45.  And, what’s with the ‘you’?]

[SS Because I am not responsible for the unfocused, fuzzy attempts at writing.  And, what good is thinking if it’s not expressed?]

[OS Well the thinking was expressed, just not at/on this page?]

[SS What page, by the way?  This is writing in cyberspace.  Is there really ‘a page’ that we can even talk about?]

[OS That is soo post-modernist.  Thankfully, we are Critical Realists.  So, the page exists!]

[SS What page…?]

[OS Tut. Tut. Sssh!  Umberto utters words of wisdom to guide us through our semiotically oriented sociological study…]

[SS Cut the philosophical wham: we are chasing a midnight deadline so we can keep our commitment to a ‘piece’ a day. In the hopes that our/her supervisor will accept, with exception, this expose]

Producing signs and signals is laborious.  First, there is the physical stress of uttering.  Although usually associated with sound emission, Eco enlarges the notion of utterance to any production of signals. (p 151)

This act of uttering presupposes ‘labor/labour’.  Labour is measured/increases because there are different types of signs.  For example, instead of uttering words, the production of an image to convey a word’s meaning implies extra work.  We ‘labor'[labour] when we ‘utter’  to ensure semantic acceptability and its understandability. (p152)

There is also ‘labor’ [labour] in receiving a sentence because it requires interpretation.  A sender has to foresee what is received, and the ‘addressee’ has to “isolate a complex network of presuppositions and possible inferential consequences”.

Many of these acts of labour are already studied by existing disciplines, but Eco argues [oh yeah he does] that they “have to be included as branches of semiotics”. (p152)

[OS I hear the sarcasm, but please explain?]

[SS Well, why should things already studied be under Eco’s Eye?  Sounds a bit arrogant and dominating.]

[OS Too sensitive.  Eco just thinks that Semiotics is such an all/general discipline that can….blah blah blah.  Lost the plot.  Macro. Micro. The space in between.]

[SS Macropsia. Mycropsia. We know about that and little about the spaces in between.]

[OS I no longer understand our role in this PhD!]

[SS We are just the conversation in the space-in-between!]

Ends 11:38pm

Note to SS and OS: Eco uses the spelling LABOR, we prefer LABOUR


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