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Overriding Semiosis: The Catastrophe of the Ambrym Eruption of 1913

Abstract : The 1913 volcanic eruption on the island of Ambrym (Vanuatu) struck both groups composing the island’s population at the time, the Islanders and the British Presbyterians who had come to ‘civilise’ them. Through the lens of Peirce’s semiosis, particularly his notion of the ‘indexical sign’, this article examines the chronological development of the two groups’ divergent, and also at times convergent interpretations of the eruption as a sign. This semiotic analysis is then extended into the island’s socio-historical context, from the Presbyterians’ first attempts at missions to the catastrophic upheaval that decimated the island’s population until the 1940s, to study how the two groups interpreted themselves, each other, Western Christianity and the traditional Ambrymese belief and authority system.
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https://hal-mines-paristech.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02409228
Contributor : Magalie Prudon <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 13, 2019 - 12:56:12 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 5:20:28 PM

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Yoann Moreau, Vincent Aurora. Overriding Semiosis: The Catastrophe of the Ambrym Eruption of 1913. Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2019, pp.1-15. ⟨10.1080/00664677.2019.1647827⟩. ⟨hal-02409228⟩

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