Semiotica 17:4, pp. 371-384. © Mouton Publishers, 1976. , PAUL BOUISSAC THE 'GOLDEN LEGEND' OF SEMIOTICS* Potential disciplines which emerge from the progressive definition of a new object of study and its correlative methodology tend to legitimate themselves by pointing to their historical roots in a prestigious past. Their quest for a genealogy usually leads them to constitute a series of predecessors to both enhance their novelty and authenticate their enterprise; they invent a respectable legend about themselves from elements which are as objective as an 'historical object' can be. The result is generally a gratifying fallacy in as much as the texts which are recovered or unearthed for this purpose receive their relevancy precisely from the point of view which they are assumed to have generated, and not the reverse. Semiotics, as a discipline which has been tending toward institutionalisation for the last two decades, is no exception to the rule. Of course, this new paradigm, in Kuhn's sense of the word,1 did not explode into existence suddenly, without any historical gestation. The actual process of its taking shape, however, is not likely to be discerned in various attempts in the past to deal with the problem
Semiotica - Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1976
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