Prof. Dr. Rose Marie Beck

Ambiguous signs: the role of the Kanga as a medium of communication

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

This article deals with the communicative uses of the printed wrap cloth kanga. Specifically I will show how the kanga is constituted as a communicative sign and is at the core of ambiguation processes that are pervasive to this communicative genre. Because of its high degree of ambiguity the question arises whether we can, for communication by way of kanga, still speak of communication in any sense. In my opinion, we can only do so if it is possible to analyze the communication process within existing models of communication. Starting from the hypothesis that the kanga indeed has communicative potential communication is understood as social interaction, whereby the focus is not solely on meanings in a pragmatic or semantic sense, but rather on social meaning, i.e. the negotiation of relationships between the interactants in an area of tension between individual, social and cultural interests (within which meaning in a linguistic sense does play a role, too) (Anderson & Meyer 1988, Burgoon et aL 1996). This will be shown in the fust part of the analysis. In the second part of this article I will describe and explain the role of the medium kanga within this process of ambiguation. This article is based on material collected during two field periods in 1994/ 1995 and 1996 in Mombasa and, from 1995 onwards, in various archives in the Netherlands and Switzerland.

weitere Metadaten

Erschienen in Swahili-Forum - 8.2001
Swahili, Kanga, Kommunikation, Ambiguität
Swahili, kanga, communication, ambiguity
SWD SchlagworteSwahili, Kleidung, Ostafrika, indirekte Kommunikation
DDC Klassifikation496
Beteiligte Institution(en) 
HochschuleUniversität Leipzig
FakultätInstitut für Afrikanistik
HochschuleUniversität zu Köln
FakultätInsitut für Afrikanistik
Veröffentlichungsdatum (online)09.08.2012
persistente URNurn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa-91642
QuelleSwahili Forum 8 (2001), S. 157-169

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