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Semiotics and the construction of identity: the semiosis of the Arabic-Andalusian cultural heritage in the process of generation of identity and alterity meanings in the Brazilian imagery


Despite being often taken for granted, the effect of meaning of identity is ultimately the product of a complex and dynamic discursive and interdiscursive construction in which the conception of alterity in opposition to the self constitutes a most relevant force. The study of alterity can bring considerable challenges to the analyst, since it may use quite complex resources such as omissions, pauses, ellipses or presupposed assumptions that may be far more eloquent and persuasive than the most minutiose description. Such a discussion represents the landmark for an investigation on the cultural representations of Brazilian identity in different kinds of syncretic texts - here defined according to the second interpretation proposed by Greimas and Courtés in their Dictionnaire de Sémiotique, that consider as syncretic the semiotics that put into action a manifold of languages of manifestation (Greimas & Courtés, 1979:426). Such syncretism may appear in various supports - architecture, audiovisual, popular songs etc - and come from distinct origins, demanding a cautious investigation about the paradigmatic and/or syntagmatic patterns that constitute it. The present research has already been presented to the international community through the paper Semiotics of cultural heritages: the dialectical process of assimilation and denial of the andalusian legacy in the construction of Brazilian identity, which took parto f the Semiotics of Cultural Heritage round table in the International Semiotics Institute last june (Kaunas, Lithuania), and it is part of the Semiotics of Cultural Heritage international project led by Prof. Eero Tarasti, the president of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, counting on more than 30 researchers from 20 countries worldwide. Although the methodological approach adopted in this reseach follows most of the time the French Semiotics School guidelines, inputs from Peirce and mainly Lotman are also instrumental to our investigation, in accordance to the contemporary international trends to transdisciplinarity and towards a synthesis between the different semiotic traditions. (AU)

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