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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 9, 2016

On anti-identity construction and anti-modeling

Hongbing Yu
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


Anti-identity construction is a uniquely semiotic behavior that can be witnessed in both fictional and non-fictional narratives. It is not a solitary concept but subordinate to a hypernym that can be defined as anti-modeling, which is a representational or cognitive process whereby a person creates models that challenge or defy certain stereotypes, specific groups of people or individuals, objects, and events. Just like anti-identity construction, anti-modeling is fundamentally different from defamiliarization. A major difference between anti-modeling and defamiliarization is that the former recognizes both prose and poetry, among all the other types of human modeling systems, verbal and nonverbal alike. Nevertheless, defamiliarization does share a critical trait with anti-modeling, that is, habituation or automatism for the economy of mental effort, although in the case of defamiliarization, the habituation/automatism is one of perception, whereas in the case of anti-modeling, it is the habituation/automatism of interpretation. Given that stereotyping is in fact an instantiation of the categorization process and anti-modeling imbricates, if not coincides, with the categorization process, anti-modeling is not only “anti-stereotype modeling”, it can also be thought of as “cross-category modeling”. The import and position of the categorization process in modeling, or more broadly, in semiosis, need to be further explored in future studies.


I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Professor Jie Zhang for all these years of guidance and mentorship, without which it would have been impossible for me to embark on the wonderful journey of semiotic studies. Work on this study was also supported by the Jiangsu Social Science Youth Fund (15TQC004), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation funded project (First class funding, 2015M580444), the Significant Chinese National Social Science Fund (15ZDB092), and the Second Phase of the Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD: Phase II) (20140901).


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Published Online: 2016-6-9
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston