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Marxism and the Philosophy of Language

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  222 ratings  ·  7 reviews
V. N. Volosinov's important work, first published in Russian in 1929, had to wait a generation for recognition. This first paperback edition of the English translation will be capital for literary theorists, philosophers, linguists, psychologists, and many others.

Volosinov is out to undo the old disciplinary boundaries between linguistics, rhetoric, and poetics in order to
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 21st 1986 by Harvard University Press (first published 1929)
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Elizabeth Pyjov
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting! Here are some points which I enjoyed reading:

Part I, Chapter 1: "The Study of Ideologies and Philosophies of Language
He makes the point that ideologies are expressed in signs.
-- "Everything ideological possesses 'meaning': it represents, depicts, or stands for something lying outside itself. In other words, it is a sign. Without signs, there is no ideology" (9).
-- An example of the above: "A physical body equals itself, so to speak: it does not signify anything but wholly coinc
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Eric
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As its title suggests, Volosinov’s book lays the foundations for a Marxist philosophy of language—one that functions at the levels of the social and sociology rather than romantic individualism or philological abstraction. He argues that “consciousness itself can arise and become a viable fact only in the material embodiment of signs” and that signs only arise when individuals are “organized socially” (11-12). Signs and consciousness are thus ideological effects rather than causes of social orga ...more
sologdin
solid. many noteworthy things here, but the pithy summation is in the line "the sign is an arena of class struggle." proponents of the view that bakhtin wrote this pseudonymously might regard that line as a parody of Stalinist orthodoxy, but I am inclined to believe that voloshinov is a real guy who really authored this text, and perhaps authored it in earnestness.

that somewhat obsolete line of inquiry aside, the notion that the sign itself is a locus of class struggle (through its material depl
...more
Andrea
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory, discourse
Wow. Difficult, but this is full of ideas that will radically challenge and open up how you think about language, literature and society, and I found it supremely useful in thinking through some of my ideas of popular education, social change, and struggles over hegemony. Some of the things that I liked most were often simple asides from his main points and I wish they had been developed, and so I am even angrier with Stalin (now that I know he disappeared Volosinov) than I was before.
Kate
Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wait a minute - goodreads has this listed as being by Bakhtin under a pseudonym, but that is a very controversial attribution. Not good scholarship, goodreads! Tsk tsk...
Manuel
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional theorisation of language and communication. Intimately related to pragmatic approaches to the discursive production of societies (e.g. Mead, Wittgenstein), Voloshinov approach offers a philosophy of language linking daily interaction with ideological (re)production of social 'structures'.
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Valentin Nikolaevich Voloshinov (Russian: Валенти́н Никола́евич Воло́шинов) (June 18, 1895, St. Petersburg – June 13, 1936, Leningrad) was a Soviet/Russian linguist, whose work has been influential in the field of literary theory and Marxist theory of ideology.

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