Fais-Leutskaia O. Informal Plant Symbols: Traditional Semantics and New Meanings

Oxana Fais-Leutskaia –Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-2757-2434
E-mail: oxana-fais@yandex.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. Based on field materials, the article considers some plants that, according to the population of Sicily and emigrant Sicilians, are informal local symbols, or unwritten symbols. The author addresses the ethnographic coverage of the empirical cultural material. Discussing the reasons for the emic choice of plants as symbols in Sicily, and touching on the problems of their origins and organic presence in the Sicilian culture, including that in the traditions of local cuisine (for example, in the archaic street food), medicine, magic, and language, the author appeals to the definition of the symbol by Clifford Geertz and focuses on the nature of the connotations of the informal symbols and the diversity, origins and features of their polysemantics. The article also addresses the social connections of these symbols and the significance of plant research in various strata of the local society, primarily in the context of the folk environment and culture. The author emphasizes that, in the context of modernity, these plant symbols are being increasingly perceived at the emic level as the embodiment of local identity, its sign, connotation and topos of the Self. 

 

KEYWORDS: Sicily, unwritten symbols, plants, polysemantics, identity

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-2(12)-175-185
УДК 398.543+581.6

 

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