The Meaning of Culture: Moving the Postmodern Critique Forward

By Kenneth Allan | Go to book overview
Save to active project

2
The Subjective View and the Social Construction of Sense-Meaning

All animals are confronted with the challenge of material subsistence, but only humans are straddled with the vexing question of its meaning.

-- Snow and Anderson ( 1993, p. 229)

Culture is principally concerned with the production and reproduction of meaning. There are two analytically distinct attributes of meaning when used with reference to culture and reality construction. The concept of meaning may be used to refer to sense-meaning: the meaning that is attributed to a sign or symbol as the result of the structured qualities of language. For example, Saussure ( 1916/ 1959) argued that "language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely [italics added] from the simultaneous presence of the others" (p. 114). In other words, the meaning of a sign is constructed through its relationship to other signs.

According to Saussure, there are two specific types of relationships between linguistic terms. Within a sentence, whether in a written text or a conversation, combinations of elements are supported and given meaning by linearity. That is, the combinations of words that can appear together in a sentence are limited. These limited combinations define the meaning of any one word that stands within a combination through opposition to every other element that comes before or after it. Saussure ( 1916/ 1959) termed this relationship "syntagmatic" (p. 123).

-37-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Meaning of Culture: Moving the Postmodern Critique Forward
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 198

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?