Semiotics, anthropology and the analysability of culture


  • Peeter Torop Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Tiigi 78, Tartu 50410



For each culture-studying discipline, the problem of culture’s analysability stems from disciplinary identity. One half of analysability consists of the culture's attitude and the ability of the discipline's methods of description and analysis to render the culture analysable. The other half of analysability is shaped by the discipline’s own adaptation to the characteristics of culture as the object of study and the development of a suitable descriptive language. The ontologisation and epistemologisation of culture as the subject of analysis is present in each culture-studying discipline or discipline complex. Culture analysts are therefore scholars with double responsibilities. Their professionalism is measured on the basis of their analytical capability and the ability to construct (imagine, define) the object of study. The analytical capability and the ability to construct the object of study also determine the parameters of analysability. Be the analyst an anthropologist or a culture semiotician, the analysability of culture depends on how the analyst chooses to conduct the dialogue between him/herself and his/her object of study.


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How to Cite

Torop, P. (2006). Semiotics, anthropology and the analysability of culture. Sign Systems Studies, 34(2), 285–316.




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