On Ecosemiotic Methodology. The Ecosemiosphere and Other Conceptual Models
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Addressing ecological problems requires an ontology that considers environmental processes simultaneously as culturally mediated and rooted in ecosystems. For example, problems such as the effects of global environmental change, animals adapting to urban environments and human migration due to environmental degradation bond sign processes and the flows of matter and energy. Ecosemiotics provides a robust conceptual framework for studying these topics. The toolbox proposed in this paper combines the ecosemiosphere as a general concept for ecosemiotic research; activity centers, which are loci in the ecosemiosphere with distinct identities and dynamics; relations between activity centers that are the primary object of ecosemiotic study. The ecosemiosphere concept departs from Juri Lotman’s semiosphere model by combining human cultural dynamics with the bio- and ecosemiotic understanding of the diversity of umwelts and sign systems of nonhuman species. The proposed framework gathers some specific concepts, such as, among others, affordance, semiotic pollution, ecological code, dissent, semiocide, nature-text. I will argue that ecosemiotics can analyze our cultural alienation from the living ecosystems and propose semiotic remedies to overcome this rupture