Norwegian Morten is the first foreign doctoral candidate in semiotics: Wolves, traffic lights and cultural mix
Morten Tønnessen (33) is not only the only Norwegian doctoral student at the
We meet Morten in the student town
Semiotics is thus the study of the signs and the use of them, we are told. – But then we see how many people today just look at the signs – traffic lights – and no longer at the traffic. This is for me a sign of alienation, people are so overtly present in the reality of signs that they no longer see the nature behind it, says Morten.
Semiotics is dealing with the functioning of signs, Morten explains, engaged. – And with the context. Part of the first a semiotician will ask, is what context the signs function in.
NOT ONLY TARTU-MOSCOW
– When there is talk of
– This is a tradition or school in the area of semiotics which is primarily related to Juri Lotman’s work and to semiotics of culture. Lotman and others develop models for society and how cultures and subcultures can be analyzed. But another tradition of semiotics that
Morten develops what is properly called an Uexküllian phenomenology, a kind of philosophy of nature in which Jakob von Uexküll is important. – A core concept is environmental change, in conjunction with the concrete experienced life worlds of humans and other living beings. Moreover, I have a case study on Norwegian wolf management – a Norwegian-Estonian research project that compares ecological space in
CULTURAL ENCOUNTER AS MOTIVATION
It is no coincidence that the central persons in the Estonian tradition of semiotics have a diverse cultural background, says Morten: – Juri Lotman was a Russian Jew. He had a complex background, and ended up in
The other source of the semiotics tradition – Jakob von Uexküll, however, was from a German cultural background and another time. He took his basic university education in
A Russian immigrant and a German emigrant are thus important in the Estonian project of semiotics, and this, Morten thinks, is an important point: – The cultural mix was probably part of motivation for these scholars.
– Why hasn’t there been any foreign doctoral student in semiotics here before?
– Yes, why hasn’t anyone gone here on their own before, with that kind of ambition? It is only in recent years that the
Morten has some visits in
Morten the semiotician also has a tip for those who might have become interested in what he is doing. Namely that in the fall, the University of
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Source: Mariann Lugus, the Archimedes foundation.