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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2013, Issue 196


In search of the other: Reading Victoria Welby's significs

Wen Song
Published Online: 2013-08-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0070


This essay employs the logic of otherness as the key concept to approach Welby in relation to her life and research. Her unconventional childhood and her network of relations (the “Welby Network”, as Susan Petrilli proposes) help shape a vision of the world that is characterized by its dialogic and polyphonic nature. Her response to the religious crisis of her age challenged by Darwinian evolutionary theory is to update religious discourse in the light of progress in science and philosophy beyond dogmatism and orthodoxy. For Welby, “woman” is the guardian of the logic of “differences” or “distinctions” that must interrelate dialogically. Her mother-sense recovers the connection with the body and the relationship between signs and values. Welby develops the concept of meaning with a special focus on the dimension of significance. She presents significs as a method for creating interconnections and encouraging dialogue among different voices, what she calls a “translative method” and “philosophy of interpretation, translation, and significance”. A development on significs today is Susan Petrilli's “semioethics.”

Keywords: dialogic interrogation; gender; mother-sense; otherness logic; ethosemiotics; significs

About the article

Wen Song

Wen Song (b. 1967) is an associate professor at Nanjing University of Science and Technology 〈 〉. Her research interests include gender, urban experiences, public spheres, and semiotics of writing. Her publications include “Beauty connection – An analysis of Zadie Smith's On beauty” (2008); “An analysis of Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts” (2009); Cross borders – History, space, and gender in Virginia Woolf and Jeanette Winterson (2009); and “An analysis of Atonement from the perspective of the Bildungsroman novel” (2012).

Published Online: 2013-08-23

Published in Print: 2013-08-15

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2013, Issue 196, Pages 443–455, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0070.

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