4/19 Cécile Canut @ Semiotics Workshop and REECA

The Semiotics: Culture in Context workshop, in conjunction with REECA, the workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, is pleased to present:


“"Tell Me That I am Not a Gypsy, Damn Your Mother!": The Social and Political Consequences of Enregisterment in Bulgaria”


Cécile Canut
Professor, Université Paris Descartes


Discussant: Jay Schutte
Anthropology, University of Chicago


Thursday, April 19, 2018
4:30–6 pm | Haskell 101




Considering the very strong increase in hate speech aimed at a group named Tsigani ("Gypsy") in Bulgaria, this paper offers an analysis of what is said as semiotic production, considering in particular the process of enregisterment (Agha) towards the construction and reconstruction of a Gypsy persona.


Articulating the semiotic (metapragmatic) and discursive (French Discourse Analysis) approaches, I draw on two semiotic productions stemming from Bulgaria in order to show, firstly, the reiterative power of interdiscursivity in conditioning the process of differentiation (between “us” and “them”). Secondly, I focus on the blur that underlies this opposition, leading me to formulate the hypothesis of an impossible dissociation (between “us” and “them”), as the real drive for hate in action. This analysis will lead us to consider anti-Gypsy hate as self-hate, a perspective that can help us shed a new light on our understanding of racist discourse.




For a copy of the paper, please email Josh Babcock (jdbabcock@uchicago.edu) or Rachel Howard (rhoward3@uchicago.edu).