UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

How to Do Things with Signs: Rousseau’s Ancient Performative Idiom

Lifschitz, AS; (2016) How to Do Things with Signs: Rousseau’s Ancient Performative Idiom. History of Political Thought , 37 (S1) pp. 46-63. Green open access

[thumbnail of 3 Lifschitz lang of signs revised.pdf]
Preview
Text
3 Lifschitz lang of signs revised.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (282kB) | Preview

Abstract

In various writings Rousseau ascribes to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Israelites a mostly visual, gestural, and non-semantic idiom of communication: the language of signs. The article examines the performative aspects of this imagined ancient language, while situating it within the context of other eighteenth-century projections of a vivid language of action onto classical antiquity. It is argued that Rousseau’s originality lies not only in his emphasis on the performative rather than merely passionate character of this idiom. He also weaved it into a typology of political regimes and performance arts, identifying it with a particular kind of republican politics and public festivals. More generally, the language of signs assisted Rousseau in explaining the establishment of national polities by legendary lawgivers, as well as in fathoming the transformation of human nature in the transition from a state of nature to civil society.

Type: Article
Title: How to Do Things with Signs: Rousseau’s Ancient Performative Idiom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?optio...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Rousseau, Language, Signs, Poland, Sparta, Rome, Festivals, State of nature, Civil society
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1498717
Downloads since deposit
138Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item