Surviving a natural disaster as a semiotic reformation of the self and worldview

Delante, Nimrod L. (2021) Surviving a natural disaster as a semiotic reformation of the self and worldview. Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, 2021 (243). pp. 353-386.

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Theoretically, this study is framed within the semiotic tradition of communication theory, which theorizes communication as the intersubjective mediation by signs. Methodologically, this study is guided by Peirce’s semiotic ideas, especially his writing about the commens and commind, or the sign and the object, and the power of a community (constitutive of the self as researcher and the self as one with participants) as the final interpretant performing the process of sensemaking. Results showed how the survivors of a natural calamity symbolically interacted with such calamity, and how this led to a reformation of the way they view themselves and the world. The survivors’ symbolic images captured in narratives, in sketches and drawings, and in poetry helped them to reframe their sense of self and their worldview by believing in common sense and intuition, and by valuing the power of courage, initiative, preparedness, hope, and resilience. An unfortunate irony emerged in their symbolic interaction with the disaster such that their sinning and self-inflicted blame made them think they were worthy of punishment. Nonetheless, this unfortunate irony will change if the survivors continue to reflect on their civic roles, interrogate their environmental and political contexts, and expand their awareness and social consciousness. As these unfold, the survivors will be able to accomplish empowerment, emancipation, and an independent mind.

Item ID: 69726
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1613-3692
Keywords: interpretant; natural disaster; Peircean semiotics; reformation of the self; semiotic tradition of communication theory; signs; symbols; worldview
Copyright Information: © De Gruyter Mouton
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2021 00:49
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470514 Literary theory @ 80%
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4702 Cultural studies > 470208 Culture, representation and identity @ 20%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130203 Literature @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130201 Communication across languages and culture @ 50%
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