Previous Chapter Chapter 10: Signs as Organizers: Maintaining and Innovating Tensions

In: An Invitation to Cultural Psychology

Chapter 10: Signs as Organizers: Maintaining and Innovating Tensions

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Signs as Organizers: Maintaining and Innovating Tensions
Signs as organizers: Maintaining and innovating tensions

Human beings live by creating distinctions—some of which become oppositions that contradict one another—and give rise to new distinctions. All this is accomplished by signs at every step: by letting new distinctions be maintained in irreversible time, escalating, maintaining or downgrading their contradiction, and giving form to a new opposition once it emerges. The domain of fashion is a good—and rather peaceful—domain of examples of such a never-ending process. Many other domains—in marital relations or battlefields of war and business—may be more dangerous to human well-being.

Looking at the level of society, fashion is an opposition (its opposite being non-fashion) that constantly changes as it satisfies the human needs for fitting-in (to an ...

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