Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: ‘I would give it a not-so-boring name than semiotics’. A look at the experience of semiotics through narratives (Eduardo Chávez Herrera, National Autonomous University of Mexico)
In this guest seminar, Eduardo Chávez Herrera will provide a bird's-eye view on the current state of the field of semiotics, and also discuss this a particular type of experience, in part mediated by narratives! Everyone is invited, beyond the usual audience of the Cognitive Seminar! But please keep in mind the ground rules: to enter from 15:00 CET with camera on, and introduce oneself if one is a guest.
This talk shifts from theoretical proposals and applications of semiotic models towards the experiences of the ‘gatekeepers’ of semiotics. Semiotics scholars, as other academics, are subject to a number of social considerations in order to pursue their careers. Not only do they have to compete for resources in order to develop and underpin a symbolic position in academia, but also, they need to adapt their personal and academic identities to, often, fit in more than two fields of knowledge. This paper discusses the results of a larger study carried out with 64 semiotics scholars in 16 countries in 3 languages (English, French and Spanish). I address how semiotics –be it a discipline, domain, field, methodology, metascience –among others is experienced by researchers through the co-construction of narratives and representations about this academic practice, under which conditions they generate them, and what the discourses they create are. By focusing on the negotiation of identities in an oral corpus of 63 research interviews, I present different types of narratives in order to explain how semioticians take up multiple acts of positioning (Bamberg, 1997; De Fina, 2013; Depperman, 2015) that index the formation of social roles and different identities in particular contexts. The talk concludes with a discussion on the problems and challenges semioticians face in their academic lives and how (un)established is the field of semiotics in these countries.