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What is wrong with Chinese football [cartoons]? The cognitive processing of multi-domain cartoons Paul van den Hoven (in cooperation with Joost Schilperoord)

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Presentation on theme: "What is wrong with Chinese football [cartoons]? The cognitive processing of multi-domain cartoons Paul van den Hoven (in cooperation with Joost Schilperoord)"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is wrong with Chinese football [cartoons]? The cognitive processing of multi-domain cartoons Paul van den Hoven (in cooperation with Joost Schilperoord) Utrecht University, Xiamen University

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3 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Some cartoons evoke rather elaborate argumentative interpretations while others evoke merely an articulated evaluative opinion. Interpreters differ substantially in the argumentative elaborateness interpreting one and the same cartoon. Quite often interpreters who cannot come up with a satisfying interpretation of a cartoon are able to formulate quite well what lack of foreknowledge causes their problem.

4 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre We propose a cognitive processing model that explains the three observations in a coherent way. We develop this model based on and consistent with conceptual integration theory (CIT; Fauconnier & Turner 2002).

5 What are cartoons? ‘(…) a graphic presentation typically designed in a one-panel, non-continuous format to make an independent statement or observation on political events or social policy’ (Edwards & Winkler 1997: 306, italics added). Cartoons are prototypically multi-domain blends with a metaphorical reading; in this lecture it will become clear what is meant by that.

6 Conceptual integration theory Every semiotic animal knows: a semiotic object is minimally a blend, and therefore it is an instruction to mentally reconstruct it as integration network; that will reveal its meaning. Therefore the semiotic animal knows: –I need to deblend the object in two input spaces that are related to each other by a generic space. –The system as a whole must reach equilibrium, compatible with my foreknowledge; then I grasp its meaning.

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8 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE INPUT SPACE 2 INPUT SPACE 1 (E VENT [(A CTOR ), (O BJECT )]) ( EVENT [( ACTOR ), ( CUBE CHINESE SOCCER BALL )]) ( EVENT [( ACTOR ), ( OBJECT )])

9 Conceptual integration theory Four prototypical types of (de)blending and accompanying network structures: 1.simplex (de)blending, 2.mirror (de)blending, 3.single scope (de)blending and 4.double scope (de)blending These are increasingly ‘creative’ network relations due to augmented degrees of interpretative freedom.

10 The structure of the lecture First, using (1) simplex deblending, I explain in detail how building up the network and searching for equilibrium works. Then I illustrate the other prototypical forms of deblending. While doing this, the question comes up: How does the semiotic animal know which type of deblending to choose? While working, our answer on this question will become clear. That answer explains what is wrong with Chinese soccer cartoons.

11 (1) Simplex (de)blending Simplex (de)blending is the most restricted type of (de)blending. All elements in the spaces are mapped in an identity relation. If that results in equilibrium, the interpreter is happy and stops. The input spaces are mapped : –as argument and predicate, or –as example and prototype, or –as identical elements out of one class

12 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE INPUT SPACE 2 INPUT SPACE 1 (E VENT [(A CTOR ), (O BJECT )]) ( EVENT [( ACTOR ), ( CUBE CHINESE SOCCER BALL )]) ( EVENT [( ACTOR ), ( OBJECT )])

13 (1) Simplex deblending: identity SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE soccer event: prototypical soccer soccer player actor: prototypical player Chinese [cube] soccer ball [round] soccer ball object: prototypical soccer ball Chinese [cube] soccer ball Assume an interpreter who knows what soccer is

14 (1) Simplex deblending: identity IF EQUILIBRIUM: In China the ball used for soccer is a cube. SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE soccer event: prototypical soccer soccer player soccer player actor: prototypical player Chinese [cube] soccer ball [round] soccer ball object: prototypical soccer ball Chinese [cube] soccer ball

15 Author: Tom Janssen: “the Islam debate” ( REGIE, “director”)

16 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE INPUT SPACE 2 INPUT SPACE 1 (E VENT [(A CTOR ), (O BJECT )]) FIGURE, CHAIR, “REGIE”, MEGAPHONE, VERBAL CAPTION (DIRECT [( MAN ), (“T HE I SLAM DEBATE ”)])

17 (1) Simplex deblending: identity SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directing event: directing players agency: player play with title [The Islam debate] play with title object: playline with The Islam debate this directordirectoragent: directorthis director point of departure for everyone who knows what directing a play or a movie is and takes “The Islam debate” to be the title of the play

18 (1) Simplex deblending: identity IF EQUILIBRIUM: A man directs a play named “The Islam debate” SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directing event: directing players agency: player play with title [The Islam debate] play with title object: playline with The Islam debate this directordirectoragent: directorthis director

19 (1) Simplex deblending: identity point of departure for everyone who knows what directing a play or a movie is and takes “The Islam debate” to be the title of the play and recognizes the Dutch right-wing politician Wilders SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directing event: directing players agency: player play with title [The Islam debate] play with title object: playline with The Islam debate Wildersdirectoragent: directorWilders

20 (1) Simplex deblending: identity IF EQUILIBRIUM: Wilders directs a play named “The Islam debate” SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directing event: directing players agency: player play with title [The Islam debate] play with title object: playline with The Islam debate Wildersdirectoragent: directorWilders

21 (2) Mirror (de)blending Mirror (de)blending is the second, slightly less restricted type of (de)blending All elements in the spaces are mapped according to the generic space in an similarity relation. If that results in equilibrium, the interpreter maps the spaces as mirroring each others structure: the generic space specifies an organizing frame or scenario that is assumed to be similar for the input spaces and the blended space.

22 (2) Mirror deblending: similarity Assume an interpreter who knows what soccer is SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE soccer event: variations of soccer soccer player actor: players Chinese [cube] soccer ball [round] soccer ballobject: balls Chinese [cube] soccer ball

23 (2) Mirror deblending: similarity IF EQUILIBRIUM: In China they play a game similar to soccer but with a ball that is a cube [of which one needs to imagine the effect on how the game and players look]. SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE some variation of soccer soccer event: variations of soccer ‘soccer’ player soccer player actor: players Chinese [cube] soccer ball [round] soccer ballobject: balls Chinese [cube] soccer ball

24 (2) Mirror deblending: similarity point of departure for everyone who knows what directing a play or a movie is and takes “The Islam debate” to be the title of the play and recognizes Wilders SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directing event: directing directing players agency: variations of player play with title [The Islam debate] play with title object: variations of play line with The Islam debate Wildersdirectoragent: directorWilders

25 (2) Mirror deblending: similarity IF EQUILIBRIUM: Wilders directs a ‘play’ named “The Islam debate” SPACE 1 SPACE 2 GENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directing event: directing directing some agency similar to players players agency: variations of player something like play with title [The Islam debate] play with title object: variations of play line with The Islam debate Wildersdirectoragent: directorWilders

26 Single scope (de)blending Single scope (de)blending is the third, again less restricted type of (de)blending All elements in the spaces are mapped according to the generic space in an analogy relation, the presentation space being the point of departure. From single scope blending on we speak about a metaphorical relation; we distinguish a presentation space and a reference space.

27 Single scope (de)blending This is the big thing: the interpreter assumes a more creative comparison is made. Input space 2, from now on the reference space, needs a more creative construction by means of mapping from input space 1, from now on the presentation space, that is filled from the blend.

28 Single scope (de)blending If that results in equilibrium, the interpreter is happy and maps the spaces as having an analogical structure. The blended space shares its structure with the presentation space. The reference space gets an analogical structure.

29 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE REFERENCE SPACEPRESENTATION SPACE (E VENT [(A CTOR ), (O BJECT )]) ( EVENT [( ACTOR ), ( CUBE CHINESE SOCCER BALL )]) ( EVENT [( ACTOR ), ( ROUND CHINESE SOCCER BALL )])

30 (3) Single scope deblending: analogy Assume an interpreter who knows what soccer is and understands that Çhina refers to the presentation and the reference space (not necessarily so) PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE Chinese soccer event: analogue with soccer Chinese soccer player actor: analogue with players Chinese [cube] soccer ball Chinese [round] soccer ball object: analogue with balls Chinese [cube] soccer ball

31 (3) Single scope deblending: analogy IF EQUILIBRIUM: In China they play soccer as if the ball was cube. Transferred values: bad soccer. PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE ‘cube’ soccerChinese soccer event: analogue with soccer ’cube’ soccer player Chinese soccer player actor: analogue with players Chinese [cube] soccer ball Chinese [round] soccer ball object: analogue with balls Chinese [cube] soccer ball

32 GENERIC SPACE BLENDED SPACE REFERENCE SPACEPRESENTATION SPACE (E VENT [(A CTOR ), (O BJECT )]) (LEAD [(W ILDERS ), (I SLAM DEBATE )]) W ILDERS, CHAIR, “REGIE”, MEGAPHONE, VERBAL CAPTION (DIRECT [(W ILDERS ), (“T HE I SLAM DEBATE ”)])

33 (3) Single scope deblending: analogy point of departure for everyone who knows what directing a play or a movie is and takes “The Islam debate” to be the social-political debate about Islam immigrants PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directinglead event: analogue with directing directing representatives agency: analogue with player play with title [The Islam debate] Islam debate object: analogue with play line with The Islam debate Wildersparty leader agent: analogue with director Wilders

34 (3) Single scope deblending: analogy IF EQUILIBRIUM: Wilders leads the Islam debate as a director a play. Transferred values: authoritarian, one-sided. PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directinglead event: analogue with directing directing players representatives agency: analogue with player play with title [The Islam debate] Islam debate object: analogue with play line with The Islam debate Wildersparty leader agent: analogue with director Wilders

35 Summary so far We go from (1) identity, to (2) similarity, to (3) analogy. These are no clear, discrete concepts; that is why the theory speaks about prototypical types; in fact it is a continuous scale of widening the restrictions. You see the widening reflected in the hypothetical generic space, making the relations between the spaces more ‘creative’: (1) checking identity; (2) checking sufficient similarity; (3) checking a meaningful mapping from presentation on reference space.

36 Summary so far Interpretation is: searching for an adequate generic space that results in equilibrium and calculating its consequences. The search starts with the most restricted model and drops step by step more restrictions.

37 What single scope does Single scope deblending introduces a multi-domain, metaphorical relation as a hypothesis to find equilibrium; because the more restricted cycles failed to reach equilibrium. Because more creativity is allowed, more subjectivity is required; because more subjectivity is required, the discourse conveys a stronger ‘vision’ on the world the discourse is about; because a stronger ‘vision’ is conveyed, opinions become element of the resulting meaning.

38 What is wrong with Chinese football [cartoons]? In China they play soccer as if the ball was cube. Transferred values: bad soccer. Equilibrium is reached. Meaning complete. Interpretation process ends. The best cartoons go fully up to (4) double scope deblending, even to extreme forms of double scope deblending. Hypothesis to be systematically investigated: overwhelmingly, Chinese (soccer) cartoons go up to single scope only. What is double scope deblending?

39 Double scope deblending, type 1 Double scope (de)blending is the least restricted type of (de)blending. All elements in the spaces are mapped according to the generic space in an partial analogy relation, none of the other spaces being uniquely the point of departure. Disanalogies block establishing single scope equilibrium; no acceptable generic space is found! No equilibrium!

40 Double scope (de)blending, type 1 To construct(!) equilibrium, the interpreter creates a set of conditions that would make the disanalogies disappear, and assesses these conditions. This assessment calls for elaborated inferences and interpretive processing. Double scope (de)blending invites what is called emergent meaning; the inferences become part of the meaning. We speak of type 1 double scope blending if the scope of solving disanalogies is restricted to the reference domain.

41 Double scope (de)blending, type 1 The interpreter may judge: –Political leadership is not analogue to directing a play (because it assumes freedom of speech while verbal activity of stage plays is predetermined). –Representatives are not analogue to players (because it assumes authenticity while a player is suppose to play someone else).

42 (4) Double scope deblending 1: disanalogies PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directinglead event: analogue with directing directing players representatives agency: analogue with player play with title [The Islam debate] Islam debate object: analogue with play line with The Islam debate Wildersparty leader agent: analogue with director Wilders

43 Double scope (de)blending, type 1 The interpreter may judge: –Disanalogies disappear if I assume that the network expresses the attitude and behavior of some relevant party. –Wilders, or the representatives consider the Islam debate as if it was a play. –Assessment: ???

44 (4) Double scope deblending 1: disanalogies PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE directinglead event: analogue with directing directing players representatives agency: analogue with player play with title [The Islam debate] Islam debate object: analogue with play line with The Islam debate Wildersparty leader agent: analogue with director Wilders Wilders (and/or the representatives) deserve to be condemned, because of considering the debate a play.

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46 (4) Double scope deblending 1: disanalogies PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE pedagogical punishing affairs between sovereign states event: analogue with pedagogical punishing pedagogical punishing pupil Cuba agency: analogue with pupil Cuba-pupil teacherUSA agent: analogue with teacher USA-teacher The USA deserve to be condemned for their diplomatic behavior towards Cuba, because of treating a sovereign nation as if it is a naughty schoolboy.

47 (3) Single scope deblending : analogie PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE pedagogical punishing affairs between sovereign states event: analogue with pedagogical punishing pedagogical punishing pupil Cuba agency: analogue with pupil Cuba-pupil teacherUSA agent: analogue with teacher USA-teacher Cuba deserve a treatment by the USA as if it is a naughty schoolboy. Cuba acts like a schoolboy and USA responds to that. [equilibrium]

48 Double scope (de)blending, type 2 We speak of type 2 double scope blending if the scope of solving disanalogies is not restricted to the reference domain but also affects the presentation domain. These cartoons are rare and often evoke strong responses because they destabilize the presentation domain which is often deeply rooted in opinions and values the interpreter enhances.

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50 PRESENTATION SPACE REFERENCE SPACEGENERIC SPACEBLENDED SPACE raising the American banner peeing on dead bodies of Islamic enemies event: winning marines behavior raising a USA- banner- carrying, peeing statute the Iwo Jima marines the Afghanistan marines agency: marinesmarines Iwo Jima, WO IIAfghanistan, 2012 scene: analogue with Iwo Jima specific scenery (4) Double scope deblending 1: disanalogies The USA marines should be condemned for their behavior towards the vicims, because …..

51 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Some cartoons evoke rather elaborate argumentative interpretations while others evoke merely an articulated evaluative opinion. Interpreters differ substantially in the argumentative elaborateness interpreting one and the same cartoon. Quite often interpreters who cannot come up with a satisfying interpretation of a cartoon are able to formulate quite well what lack of foreknowledge causes their problem.

52 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Some cartoons evoke rather elaborate argumentative interpretations while others evoke merely an articulated evaluative opinion. The model explains: some cartoons guide the interpreter to an equilibrium after single scope deblending, while others guide the interpreter to double scope deblending because the equilibrium after single scope does not satisfy; it conflicts with foreknowledge.

53 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Interpreters differ substantially in the argumentative elaborateness interpreting one and the same cartoon. The model explains: because equilibrium is determined by foreknowledge and interpreters differ in foreknowledge, some interpreters may reach equilibrium at another cycle than others.

54 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Quite often interpreters who cannot come up with a satisfying interpretation of a cartoon are able to formulate quite well what lack of foreknowledge causes their problem. The model explains: semiotic animals know all that they are supposed to construct an integration network with equilibrium. Cartoon interpreters know single scope is the minimum. They know they have to project significant elements of the blended space on the presentation space.

55 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Therefore: –If an interpreter accepts equilibrium in (1) single scope deblending or even (2) mirror deblending, he knows he misses the point and can formulate that: “I seem to miss something here: why a cartoon about this square ball variation of soccer?”

56 Cartoons are a theoretically challenging genre Therefore: –If an interpreter does not accept equilibrium in (1) single scope deblending or even (2) mirror deblending, but is unable to identify sufficient elements to start constructing a reference space, he can formulate that: “I seem to miss something here: I see Wilders in a chair directing, but what is this about?”

57 Thank you for your presence and attention


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