an act of understanding In the Individual's mind. The sign communicates meaning, & which in Saussurean linguistics is held to be a relatively stable entity. ~
Simulacra: According to Jean Baudrillard, signs no longer represent some deeper ~ or hidden meaning (such as the class struggle), but only themselves. We live now in a world of simulations which have no deeper meaning to be discovered. Disneyland & is a good example of such a simulation. '~""
Socialist realism: An aesthetic theory imposed on artists in the Soviet Union from ~ the early 1930s onwards. This demanded that works of art appeal to a popular £ aud.ie~ce and, where possible (as in the visual and literary arts), contain an explicit "Lt soc1ahst message. -
Strange attractor: In chaos theory, the underlying force which controls any given system. The weather, for example, is assumed to have a strange attractor which dictates its patterns. The most extreme example of a strange attractor is a black hole, which absorbs all matter with which it comes into contact.
Subaltern: To be in the subaltern position is to be in an inferior position culturally, thus subject to oppression by groups more powerfully placed within the dominant ideology (as women so often are by men, or the colonized by their colonizers).
Symbolic: In Lacanian theory, the state that succeeds the imaginary (q.v.) at around eighteen months in a child's life. The symbolic is the realm of language and social existence. Lacan identifies it with the "masculine" world of adulthood. Feminists see this as the entry into repression.
Womanism: Theories which assume the superiority of women. The term suggests a re~~rse kind of sexism in which the prejudice always lies with the woman's pos1t1on.
Writerly fiction: Roland Barthes's term for fiction which does not impose a particular reading of a text on the reader, and which invites alternative interpretations. In £ Barthes's canon, modernism is the style of writing that best achieves this desirable "Lt ~~~. -
The Author Stuart Sim is Professor of English Studies at the University of Sunderland. His books include Derrida and the End of History and Lyotard and the Inhuman in Icon's 'Postmodern Encounters' series.
The IDustrator Borio Van Loon has illustrated more hot dinners than you have eaten books. He has given physical form to Darwin and Evolution, Genetics, Buddha, Eastern Philosophy, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Mathematics and Media Studies in Icon's 'Introducing' series.
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