1932

Abstract

This article provides an overview of recent scholarship on postcolonial semiotics: processes through which linguistic and other signs are linked to the colonial and its ongoing relevance in the construction of value. After tracing the question of colonialism across scholarly lineages in linguistic anthropology, this article focuses on elite formations as a key realm within postcolonial semiotics and on “fake,” “mix,” and “excess” as central qualities that constitute chronotopically anchored dimensions of ambivalent, aspirational postcolonial eliteness. Linguistic anthropological work on postcolonial elite formations illuminates how economic interests are advanced through the creation of ambiguous value around emblems presupposed as colonial and attached to differentiated elite types in fractally recursive forms. Scholarship on postcolonial semiotics reveals how colonial hierarchies persist through the continuous production of divisible interior alterities that create nested categories of the formerly colonized, inventing elite types that are both denigrated and admired for their supposed approximation to imperial modes of being and speaking.

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2021-10-21
2024-06-16
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