“Communication Societies”: Comments on Even-Zohar’s “Making of Culture Repertoire”

José Lambert
CETRA, KU Leuven
Table of contents

In a recent "Forum" article published in Target (1997), Itamar Even-Zohar tries to capture the basic rules of "Culture Repertoires". Even-Zohar has become an authority in the fields of semiotics, translation studies and system theory since the 1970's (see surveys of his work in Even-Zohar 1979; 1990; http://​www​.tau​.ac​.il​/Mtamarez); and it is interesting to notice how his position within and/or between various disciplines illustrates the permanent redefinition of research on culture in general: though many scholars may still link his work with literary studies, or even translation, Even-Zohar has stressed time and again that his primary interest is in cultural studies at large. This is apparent in his fluctuating interest in literary studies, semiotics, and translation studies. At least since the Antwerp Conference on Translation (1980) he has obviously made up his mind to leave the specific issues of translation as verbal transfer to his disciple and colleague Gideon Toury, and focus on the much more general matters of cultural transfer, verbal and non-verbal alike. Hence, it is not at all surprising to see him concentrate on "cultural repertoires" now. Associated here with "culture", the idea of repertoire, though not unknown in Even-Zohar's previous work, has been given a special focus for a few years in the work of another of his disciples, Rakefet Sheffy, who uses the notion of repertoire as a bridge between her master's and Pierre Bourdieu's worlds (Sheffy 1990; 1997; see also Even-Zohar 1997a, especially 20–28).

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