How (translated and otherwise interlingual) texts work is our way into what, why and to what effects

Erich Steiner
Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken
Table of contents

In the following necessarily short and imperfectly substantiated remarks, I shall set out by reminding us that the debate between “essentialism” and “non-essentialism” can be understood as yet another instantiation of a wider debate between “bottom-up” and “top-down” methodologies in many disciplines concerned with socio-cultural and socio-semiotic phenomena. I wish to argue that the continuing existence of these different methodological orientations is partly due to the fact that the socio-cultural and socio-semiotic phenomena in question are themselves structured into layers of abstraction, instantiation and specification, between which top-down and bottom-up processes and relationships occur and obtain, respectively. There is thus nothing wrong or intrinsically worrying about the existence of different methodological orientations, provided that research communities working on these different layers still have enough [ p. 344 ]of a common discourse culture to be able to translate their discourses amongst each other across layers.

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