By Henry S. Sussman
On the center of this crucial new booklet is the stress among literacy and the open acknowledgement of discrepancies inside of social and linguistic fields at the one hand, and what Sussman phrases the resolving functionality, the utopian photograph of concord depicted through the nation and massive agencies, at the different. After discussing a few examples of the resolving function--Barthes's concept of the parable, Kundera's fictional therapy of kitsch, and modern television--Sussman attracts on a line of theoretical inquiry extending from Saussure to Derrida that allows you to placed forth a differential version of literacy within which the abilities essential to take part productively in tradition are extra disjunctive than associative in nature. information of the discrepancies set into play by means of language is critical, he argues, for either the person and the society to appreciate the complicated and infrequently contradictory internet of socioeconomic, political, and semiological kin within which they're concerned. Combining literary thought with shut textual readings of works by way of Hawthorne, Melville, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Italo Calvino, this publication is the 1st to discover the socio-political correlatives to literary studies--the mass media's ambivalence towards the linguistic apprehensions and abilities that lead them to attainable.
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Additional info for High Resolution: Critical Theory and the Problem of Literacy
It is here that Saussure assured the decisiveness of difference at the outset of the century. A sign acquires its meaning not from any essential relation between the signified and the signifier but in relation to the other signs in the lexicon whose signification it does not share. Signs are distributed not integrally but differentially. In English, a horse is a horse not owing to any "horseness" inherent in the word but because the signifier "horse" refers not to a pig, an orange, a typewriter, or love.
Signs change not in themselves but in relation to one another, in compensation for changes in the network of signs. Toward Differential Literacy 29 Saussure thus formulates a principle of general differentiation that characterizes the linguistic field and the manner of its articulation. In Of Grammatology, Derrida detects an oral bias in Saussure's work that he finds inconsistent with a purely differential distribution of signs. He nonetheless relies heavily on the notion of a linguistic field articulated by its implicit difference.
BHB, 61-63) Emerging out of the great void that surrounds knowing what another person means, this sequence of passages from The Blue Rook is struck at every angle by differences: between one's own and another's consciousness as models, among different "geometries" that may be evoked as hypothetical bases for personal identity, and in the meaning of particular phrases as they pass to and from the stations of the communicative chain. Acts are different when viewed from different angles, words are different according to different speakers and speech functions, and personal identity, to the extent that it bears upon language, is different from itself.
High Resolution: Critical Theory and the Problem of Literacy by Henry S. Sussman