(Barré) #1

viii Steven C. Hamel

(characterized by weak classification and framing) schooling. The two registers are illustrated
by reference to specific case studies. Finally, potential implications for structuring learners‘
identities as well as for policy making will be discussed.
Chapter 2 - The paper will start from the assumption that semiotics today has advanced
well beyond the early insights of Peirce and Saussure, both of whom looked at signs rather
atomistically and in a decontextualised manner. Furthermore these thinkers tended to view the
icon, index and symbol as different kinds of signs. Such views are untenable today.
Firstly, it needs to be shown what the nature of contextualisation entails, as a shift from
signification to cognitive semiosis. This implies both intertextuality and intersubjectivity as a
result both of the evolution of the species and the further evolution of its culture. Highly
evolved culture is made up of a complex of implicit and explicit intertextual relations,
resulting in increasing levels of abstraction that demand concretisation through the
hermeneutic activity of a constantly transforming subjectivity. This needs to be theorised so
as to show up the nature of the symbolic order, which nevertheless incorporates the iconic and
indexical within itself. This incorporation means that the iconic-indexical dynamics of
zoosemiotics retain a presence within symbolic human semiosis.
It will be shown that this insight is prefigured as the ̳animal kingdom of the spirit‘ in
Hegel‘s Phenomenology and that this raises the possibility of a more fully realised symbolic
realm in the further evolution of culture. This possibility flows from the fact that human
subjectivity may be expanded to a greater consciousness of the iconic-indexical animality that
is embedded in the symbolic order. This cannot mean an evasion of the iconic-indexical realm
but a greater awareness of it to be achieved through powers of reflectivity.
Chapter 3 - The writing cure, otherwise known as expressive writing, is widely accepted
as an effective intervention. Hundreds of studies have shown that writing about one‘s
thoughts and feelings for 3 days, with at least 15 minutes a day, has beneficial effects on
physical and mental health. Yet, after more than two decades of research, there remains a
large gap between evidence and explanation for the phenomenon. The problem, we suggest,
lies in the general neglect to gain a deeper understanding of the basic building blocks of the
writing cure, namely language. This vacuum can be filled by Peircean semiotics. Peirce‘s
triadic circuitry of the sign is explicated and applied to the development of a taxonomy of
expressions of self and emotions. This taxonomy has been implemented by a pattern matching
language analysis program, SSWC (Sundararajan-Schubert Word Count) to test our theory-
based predictions of the health consequences of language use. Two empirical studies of the
writing cure that utilized SSWC for textual analysis are presented as demonstration of the
heuristic value of applied semiotics.
The writing cure has had an impressive track record since its first introduction by
Pennebaker (Pennebaker, 1985; Pennebaker and Beall, 1986) in the eighties. For the past two
decades, hundreds of studies have shown that writing about one‘s thoughts and feelings has
beneficial effects on physical and mental health (Frattaroli, 2006). But why? What is it about
language that its utilization for emotion expression has consequences for health? This
question has never been addressed by the extant theories of the writing cure (e.g., Bootzin,
1997; King, 2002; Pennebaker, Mayne, and Francis, 1997). An explanation that seems to have
the most empirical support (Frattaroli, 2006) is emotion exposure theory (Sloan and Marx,
2004), which by considering language use as an instance of exposure therapy tells us more
about the latter than language per se. Another widely accepted explanation is narrative
structure (Smyth, True, and Souto, 2001), which claims that verbal expression facilitates the

Free download pdf