Friday, October 23, 2015

Play Entry 15 Qualisign

Mr. Rabbit reminds us that qualisigns must be embodied in something in parti- cular. But as soon as they do, they are actually, and often contingently (rather than by logical necessity), bound up with other qualities—redness in an apple comes along with spherical shape, light weight, and so forth. In practice, there is no way entirely to eliminate that factor of co-presence or what we might call ‘bundling.’ This points to one of the obvious, but important, effects of materiality: redness cannot be manifest without some embodiment that inescapably binds it to some other qualities as well, which can become contingent but real factors in its social life. Bundling is one of the conditions of possibility for what Kopytoff (1986) and Appadurai (1986) called the ‘biography’ of things, as qualisigns bundled together in any object will shift in their relative value, utility, and relevance across contexts.

W. Keane / Language & Communication 23 (2003) 409–425 

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