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Julia Kristeva (1). Her Views of the Semiotics. Her Life and Works . Raised in communist Bulgaria . At the age of 25 she left for Paris with a doctoral research fellowship in hand. By1967 her articles were already appearing in the most prestigious reviews, Critique and Tel Quel .

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julia kristeva 1

Julia Kristeva (1)

Her Views of the Semiotics

her life and works
Her Life and Works
  • Raised in communist Bulgaria.
  • At the age of 25 she left for Paris with a doctoral research fellowship in hand.
  • By1967 her articles were already appearing in the most prestigious reviews, Critique and Tel Quel.
  • Her doctoral thesis, La Revolution du langage poetique, in 1974.
  • Eastern European training with a solid background in Marxist theory and fluent Russian enabled her to acquire first-hand knowledge of the Russian Formalists and, more importantly, societ theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, whose work she was instrumental in introducing to the Western world.
  • (source: http://www.msu.edu/user/vasicekb/980/KBIO.HTM )
note her life and works
Note: Her Life and Works
  • “To put it bluntly, I speak in French and about literature because of Yelta. I mean that because of Yelta, I was obliged to marry in order to have a French passport and to work in France; moreover, because of Yelta, I wanted to ‘marry’ the violence that has tormented me ever since, has dissolve identity and cells, coveted recognition and haunted me nights . . . I have no ‘I’ any more, . . .” (source: Lecht 93 )
  • note: 1945  -  End of Bulgarian monarchy. Yalta treaty makes Bulgaria a USSR satellite state.
major concepts
Major Concepts

1. Her attempt to bring the body back into discourses in the human sciences;

2. Her focus on the significance of the maternal and preoedipal in the constitution of subjectivity;

3. Her revision of contemporary linguistics which focused on the communicative function of language (e.g. generative grammar, speech acts).  genotext, as semiotic disposition

(The genotext exists within the phenotext, which is the perceivable signifying system.)

(Her notion of abjection as an explanation for oppression and discrimination. source)

three periods
Three Periods
  • 1960s – early 1970s: discusses and modifies linguistics in order to develop “a theory of the dynamic and unrepresentable poetic dimension of language: its rhymes, rhythms, intonations, alliteration, . . . music.”
  • 1970s – the refinement of the concept of le semiotique. K shows more debt to pyschoanalysis
  • 1980s – the notion of abjection, with examples of some works of art (Cf John Leche 4-6)
her life and works6
Her Life and Works
  • Her semiotic theory "demonstrates precisely her radical attack on the rigid, scientistic pretensions of a certain kind of structuralism, as well as on the subjectivist and empiricist categories of the traditional humanism." (source: http://www.msu.edu/user/vasicekb/980/KBIO.HTM )
  • How is Kristeva related to the theories we’ve discussed so far? (e.g. de Saussure, Levi Strauss) How is she related to Louis Marin’s views of Disneyland?
  • How do we practice her views of semiotics (a production of models that simultaneously offers a critique of itself)?
semiotics a critical science and or a critique of science 1968
“Semiotics: A Critical Science and/or a Critique of Science” (1968)

0. semiotics – resisted by some other schools as being ‘obscure’, ‘gratuitous,’ ‘schematic’ or impoverishing’ (274). We need to formulate a theory of its evolution and link it with Marxism.

  • Semiotics as the Making of Models
  • Semiotics and Production (Marx and Freud)
  • Semiotics and Literature
semiotics as the making of models
Semiotics as the Making of Models
  • What’s wrong with existing scientific approaches? Sees semiology as part of linguistics
  • Semiotics: a formalization or production of models. (275)
  • How semiotics is different from the exact sciences: (p. 275)
    • Theory + model: semiotics cannot be separated from the theory constituting it; a theory of the science constituting it.
    • Self-reflexive: a critique of both its models and itself, or a critique of semiotics (276), a crique which opens onto something other than semiotics, that is, ideology
    • Science (e.g. mathmatics, logic, linguistics) – develops into a system; Semiotics – self-questioning; reveals how science is born of ideology (277)
    • Introduces new terms or alterity in terms
some terms 1 formalization the axiomatic
Some Terms: 1) formalization & the Axiomatic
  • The characteristics of formalization in mathematics
  • 1. The axiomatic method: an existing set of proven axioms (公理) are the point of departure for the development of new axioms;
  • Existence– free from contradiction so that the law of identity holds, i.e. a =a
  • The law of the excluded middle: a =b, or a ≠b, there is no third way;
  • The decidability of every mathmatical or logical problem. (Lecht 94)
semiotics and production three kinds of work
Semiotics and Production(three kinds of work)
  • Allied semiotics to Marx’s strategy –a classical semiotics of work (which presents an economy or society –signified—as a permutation of elements—signifier p. 277)
  • Marx redefined the concept of ‘work’ and link it to different semiotic systems
  • Work (‘a supernatural creative power’) redefined  a work process with some social relations of production as its own specific logic (278)
  • Value redefined – crystallization of social work
  • 1) Work as value in the field of production (exchange value and use value – p. 278)
  • 2) circulation of money as arbitrary signs: Marx critiques the circulation of money – measurable communication in and after production. (money as signs//writing as exchange of money)  work means ‘nothing’
some terms 2 gramma and gramm
Some Terms: 2) gramma and grammé
  • And Derrida’s Grammatology (published in 1967) –the major argument: writing is a kind of totality which is not identical with itself qua totality, because writing contains an inside and outside within itself.
  • Writing is—as a fusion of grammé and gramma – fundamentally an inscription.
  • Grammé (the Greek for a line)– the mark of writing, trace, the other of this mark;
  • Gramma – letter
semiotics and production three kinds of work 2
Semiotics and Production(three kinds of work 2)
  • 3) dream-work (manifest content—hieroglyph + dream thought ) pre-representative production or the unconscious;

Problems of Semiotics re-defined:

  • Either formalized from the point of view of communication
  • Or opened up to the internal problematics of communication –the ‘other scene’ of the production of meaning prior to meaning
  • Another example – 1968 demands to change the model.
semiotics and production conclusion
Semiotics and Productionconclusion
  • Semiotics of production will accentuate the alterity of its object in its relation with the representable and representative object of exchange examined by the exact sciences (280)
  • Examines a plurality of productions
semiotics and literature
Semiotics and Literature
  • Literature: A particular semiotic practice which has the advantage of making more accessible than others the problematic of the production of meaning posed by a new semiotics.
  • Irreducible to the level of an object for normative linguistics
  • Production not reduced to representation
some terms 3 semananalysis
Some Terms: 3) semananalysis
  • This project moves the orientation of semiotics away from the study of meaning as a static sign-system, and towards the analysis of meaning as a ‘signifying process’
  • ‘the critical analysis of the notion of the sign,’ a ‘science constructed as a critique of meaning, of its elements and its laws. . . ‘
  • It goes beyond the sign (which is fixed, static and objective) in order to analyse ‘what cannot be thought by the whole conceptual system which is currently the foundation of intelligence” . . .paves the way for ‘la sémiotique’ to give way to ‘le sémiotique’ (the presymbolic) (L. 98-99)