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The (Pictorial) Construction of Collective Identities in the Third Reich

Ranta, Michael LU (2016) In Language and Semiotic Studies 2(3). p.107-124
Abstract
Collective identities of the Self vs. the Other are not only conveyed in and between cultures through verbal discourse, but also through pictures. Cultural encounters are often comprehended by storytelling, the verbal expression of which has been abundantly studied. Pictorial manifestations of narration, however, have received comparatively less attention. Mostly,
narration has been associated with verbal discourses, where, briefly put, events or situations are temporally ordered. Even though the narrative capacity of pictures has been taken for granted by e.g. art historians, attempts to elucidate the semiotic and cognitive basis of visual narrativity, esp. in static pictures, have been relatively... (More)
Collective identities of the Self vs. the Other are not only conveyed in and between cultures through verbal discourse, but also through pictures. Cultural encounters are often comprehended by storytelling, the verbal expression of which has been abundantly studied. Pictorial manifestations of narration, however, have received comparatively less attention. Mostly,
narration has been associated with verbal discourses, where, briefly put, events or situations are temporally ordered. Even though the narrative capacity of pictures has been taken for granted by e.g. art historians, attempts to elucidate the semiotic and cognitive basis of visual narrativity, esp. in static pictures, have been relatively rare (cf. Ranta, 2013).
Within cognitive science, narratives are regarded as crucial and fundamental cognitive instruments or tools (e. g. Bruner, 1990; Schank, 1995). As Roger Schank suggests, the identity of (sub-) cultures is to a considerable extent based upon the sharing of narrative structures.
According to Schank, culturally shared stories—or stories in general—occur frequently in highly abbreviated form, as “skeleton stories” or “gists”, not least in pictorial form. Moreover, in ways that correspond to Schank’s account of storytelling and cognition, these may also have implications for conceptions of one’s home-culture in relation to an alien-culture. Many pictures and visual artworks have indeed been produced in order to consolidate, modify, and demarcate certain cultural stances.
In this paper, I shall focus upon one (and even today highly relevant) example of creating cultural identity, namely the racist confrontation of the “Aryans” vs. the Other (esp. Jews, but also Slavs and Romani) as promoted by National Socialist thinking and politics during the Third Reich in German history. Some concrete pictorial examples indicating these attempts will be discussed and analysed from a narratological and cognitive semiotic perspective. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
art, pictures, National Socialism, narrativity, cultural encounters, cognitive semiotics, cognitive psychology
in
Language and Semiotic Studies
volume
2
issue
3
pages
107 - 124
ISSN
2096-031X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d7323c14-7256-421a-beb0-94abb623695c
alternative location
http://www.szlass.com.cn/upload/day_161017/201610171210138952.pdf
date added to LUP
2016-08-30 15:43:08
date last changed
2016-10-20 10:56:52
@article{d7323c14-7256-421a-beb0-94abb623695c,
  abstract     = {Collective  identities  of  the  Self  vs.  the  Other  are  not  only  conveyed  in  and  between  cultures through verbal discourse, but also through pictures. Cultural encounters are often comprehended by  storytelling,  the  verbal  expression  of  which  has  been  abundantly  studied.  Pictorial manifestations  of  narration,  however,  have  received  comparatively  less  attention.  Mostly, <br/>narration has been associated with verbal discourses, where, briefly put, events or situations are temporally ordered. Even though the narrative capacity of pictures has been taken for granted by e.g. art historians, attempts to elucidate the semiotic and cognitive basis of visual narrativity, esp. in static pictures, have been relatively rare (cf. Ranta, 2013).<br/>Within  cognitive  science,  narratives  are  regarded  as  crucial  and fundamental  cognitive instruments or tools (e. g. Bruner, 1990; Schank, 1995). As Roger Schank suggests, the identity of  (sub-)  cultures  is  to  a  considerable  extent  based  upon  the  sharing  of  narrative  structures. <br/>According  to  Schank,  culturally  shared  stories—or  stories  in  general—occur  frequently  in highly abbreviated form, as “skeleton stories” or “gists”, not least in pictorial form. Moreover, in  ways  that  correspond  to  Schank’s  account  of  storytelling  and  cognition,  these  may  also have implications for conceptions of one’s home-culture in relation to an alien-culture. Many  pictures  and  visual  artworks  have  indeed  been  produced  in  order  to  consolidate,  modify,  and demarcate certain cultural stances.<br/>In this paper, I shall focus upon one (and even today highly relevant) example of creating cultural identity, namely the racist confrontation of the “Aryans” vs. the Other (esp. Jews, but also  Slavs  and  Romani)  as  promoted  by  National  Socialist  thinking  and  politics  during  the Third  Reich  in  German  history.  Some  concrete  pictorial  examples  indicating  these  attempts will be discussed and analysed from a narratological and cognitive semiotic perspective.},
  author       = {Ranta, Michael},
  issn         = {2096-031X},
  keyword      = {art,pictures,National Socialism,narrativity,cultural encounters,cognitive semiotics,cognitive psychology},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {107--124},
  series       = {Language and Semiotic Studies},
  title        = {The (Pictorial) Construction of Collective Identities in the Third Reich},
  volume       = {2},
  year         = {2016},
}