A Biosemiotic Approach to Multiculturalism
I argue in favor of a biosemiotic approach to multiculturalism, which avoids certain anthropocentric and language-centered presuppositions, which were inherited from classical anthropology to contemporary multiculturalism. Multiculturalism theories mostly developed in view of the politics of recognition framework, namely the supposition that for proper conviviality a formal recognition of cultural identities is necessary. This idea stems from an ideological theory of culture, termed culturalism, which, recent criticism shows, implies undemocratic policies, such as social, linguistic and economic isolationism, and supposes a rigid notion of cultural identity. Biosemiotic theory can uproot the need for a politics of recognition by its opposition to the thesis that cultures can be understood separately, as distinct socioeconomic clusters, paralleled to corre. Also, culturalism is supported by the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, common in sociolinguistics and cultural semiotics, claiming that culture is modelled by language and that, in turn, language can only evolve within the affordances of its corresponding cultural model. A biosemiotics-founded cultural theory counter-argues this language-culture parallelism, particularly on account of the concept of semiotic scaffolding, by its stance that organisms gain a wider range of affordances through the use of their semiotic competences, rather than having their freedom limited through processes of autocommunication. I argue that grounding cultural criticism in the biosemiotic view of modelling avoids cultural-linguistic relativism and its undemocratic consequences, as expressed in some multicultural theories. This theory opposes 20th century mainstream anthropocentric and language-centered philosophy and its corresponding theory of (multi)culturalism.
Temas y ejes de trabajo:
Semiótica y ciencias biológicas
Semiótica y antropología
University of Tartu; Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
Estado del abstract
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