ÉMERGENCE / Emergence
Modifié le 19 juin 2007
August 1, 2008
Article in progress posted for corrections, complements, suggestions
ÉTYMOLOGIE / Philology
émergence, a French subst. in 1471 (judicial vocabulary); emergence, subst., in English by 1649. From the late Latin emergentia, derived from the verb emergere, literally: «to come out of the sea», constructed with ex-: «from» and mare: «sea», or mergere: «to dip, immerse».
The term comes into scientific usage in the 18th century with Newton's emergent light. In English emersion and in French émersion were already attested with a scientific acceptation in the 17th century from the Latin past participle emergus. The widespread use of the term is a 20th century phenomenon, developing in literary science after the emergence of evolutionism in anthropology and social sciences.
ÉTUDE SÉMANTIQUE / Definitions
Generally speaking, emergence is a phenomenon, a process, a fact, a property, a character, a concept, related to indeterminacy, evolution, creation, as it is observed or used in various fields of knowledge or practice, notably in :
A. Philosophy ; epistemology ; logics
B. Science ; technology
C. Social sciences
E. Historical sciences
G. Theory of literature
A. Philosophy; epistemology; logics
1. The process by which a phenomenon grows out of a combination of causes while it cannot be considered as the result of their respective effects.
2. A fact such as a thing which comes out of another one when it does not proceed from it, or when a phenomenon does not result necessarily from another one, or when a consequence does not have its origin in a cause.
(George Henry Lewes, 1817-1878) emergent, subst. : A phenomenon that cannot be predicted by antecedent conditions nor explained after its constituent parts. An emergent is the contrary of a resultant which is determined by identifiable causes.
3. A novel quality that evolves from another when the latter acquires a certain complexity of organization.
Emergence can be described as the principle of negentropy (the construction of a coherence, the apparition of an order) as the contrary of entropy (the state of growing disorder of a system or the degradation of its
energy). It would qualify the state of a system evolving an organization, into forms or structures superior to the pre-existing conditions through the acquisition of energy.
See below the concept of emergence in biology (evolutionism).
A distinctive form which appears out of the interplay of an amount of alternatives in an indefinite field of possibles. «(...) There is play in writing for continuous choice ; plot is emergent from the selective logic of the writerly act.» (M. Bradbury, «Plot» in : R. Fowler (ed.), A Dict. of Mod. Critical terms, London: Routledge, 1987, p. 182).
V. the articles CHAOS, CHOIX/Choice, COMPLEXITÉ/Complexity, CRÉATION/Creation, ÉCRITURE/Writing, ÉVOLUTION/Evolution, POSSIBLE/Possible.
4 emergent mentalism: A current of thought represented notably by the Scottish philosopher Samuel Alexander's work Space, Time and Deity, 1927, but already outlined in Henri Bergson's L'évolution créatrice, 1907, which attempts an explanation of the genesis of the mind as a consciousness in the world arising from the non-mental in certain conditions of development. See article CONSCIENCE/Consciousness.
5 emergent property: The quality of a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The new properties are superior to those from which they emerge. Thus thought emerges from life, is not caused by it. Water has properties that can not be inferred from its two components oxygen and hydrogen.The meaning of a sentence is superior to the information contained in the totality of its words. The emergent properties are not predictable in a causal sequence.
B. Science; technology
6. (Physics, 18th century, as a synonym of emersion). The coming forth into view of something which was concealed, growing, included, or latent inside another body, or which was going through it.
The emergence of a light ray: The point where a beam comes out of a medium, e.g. water, it has traveled through.
emergent crystal: A piece of quartz or glass made of six prisms, one of them seeming to stand out from the other ones.
The surfacing above the water level or, more generally, of a liquid of something which had been submerged. The emergence of a solid plunged into a heavier fluid. The emergence of a rock at low tide. The emergence of a submarine.
The emergent phenomenon is not a constitutive part of the medium from which it proceeds.
7. (Astrophysics). The emersion, or reappearance of a planet, the sun, a star after disappearance such as an eclipse.
(Botanics; anatomy). An outgrowth arising from the tissue of an organ. An emergence on leaves, on stems.
The emergence of a nerve: The point where a nerve separates itself from a center.
(Biology, especially in evolution theory). The development of a new species or, by extension, of a new system that cannot be predicted from antecedent conditions. For example, the different stages of the history of life cannot be explained by the preceding steps. Die Emergenz der Chironomiden am Breitenbach... (Title of a diss. by Manfred Siebert.- Gießen: 1978).
A series of levels of development move towards higher forms of organization and finally to self-reflexive consciousness: a) inorganic matter, b) the nucleus-bearing protozoa, c) sexually reproducing forms, d) animals with nervous systems, e) man.
emergent evolution: The process by which new types of organisms or characteristics of species appear as an unpredictable rearrangement of pre-existing elements.
8. (Warfare) emergent technology: A visionary theory of warfare advanced in the U.S.A. with the concept of the «Battlefield 2000'»; it was supposed to resolve NATO's problems by relying on artificial intelligence to integrate a vast amount of military and economic data, and to develop a global strategic defence initiative beyond a dependence on manpower and crude nuclear weapons.
C. Social sciences
(Law; jurisprudence. Obsolete). A dependence. The fact that a law, a right, a duty, a fief, etc. comes from, derives from, is understood in, is subjected to another one. Freedom of speech emerges from the Constitution.
(Roman law) emergens damnun (Latin subst., literally : «arising damage, injury») : The loss resulting indirectly from an accident.
(Cultural studies; Marxist theory after Raymond Williams 1961; deconstruction)
emergent forms / formes émergentes: Cultural elements in an historical situation manifesting novel trends and interacting with residual forms that linger from the past and with dominant forms that characterize the mode or
spirit of the time.
While Hegel and Lukács saw periods of history as characterized by a dominant mode of production, emergencists consider them rather as the dynamic interplay of contradictory forms.
The concepts of dominant, residual and emergent forms are instrumental in the analysis of the function that vocal minorities, developing identities and alternative movements play within the overall culture in a continuous process of change.
emergent culture / culture émergente: Formations within a system that challenge the residual and dominant forms in society. Feminism, peace movements, ethnicity, green politics, gay theories subvert the dominant culture in the West, expose its aporias, and contest the established power structures. In doing so, they may draw on residual forms they reorient, or reformulate in a novel perspective. See articles DÉCONSTRUCTION, Cultural studies, MARXISME, PRÉSENCE, ZEITGEIST.
(Social studies) emergent literacy, subst.: The access to reading and understanding skills of a population so far illiterate. See articles
ALPHABÉTISATION / Literacy and ILLETTRISME.
9. (Constructivism). The awareness of one's environment and situation as a requisite for a speech act. The process by which, in a speech act, extra-linguistic information is semi-consciously taken into account by the different actors of communication. For example, when the teacher says «open your book p. 28», the fact that all students concerned do have the relevant book with them has emerged to the knowledge of all parties. The emergence of information is a pre-requisite of communication. Cf. Semiosphere (I. Lotman) or semiotics space common to all actors of communication and necessary to the functioning of. all languages. See articles ESPACE/Space and SÉMIOSPHÈRE.
Emergent grammar (title of an article by Paul Hopper), in Aske (Jon), et al., eds., Proceedings ....-Berkeley: Linguistics Soc., 1988).
10. lengua di emergenza (Italian term the equivalents of which – language of emergence, langue d'émergence – are not commonly used in other languages): An original language constituted by the amalgamation, for instance, of the vocabulary of one language to the grammatical system of another (Pidgin English, Sabir, Chinook, Creoles, etc.) arising from a situation of political, cultural, or economic intercourse between communities and societies. See articles HÉTÉROGÈNE, HYBRIDE, IMMIGRATION, INTERCULTURALITÉ.
E. Historical sciences
11. (Generally). A fact, a phenomenon, an information appearing to common knowledge; the process by which such information becomes known at a certain time or through a certain time. The exposure of hidden facts. The emergence of the secret talks caused a scandal.
12. (History of ideas). The developpement and acceptance of a new concept, of a new discipline «L'émergence de la sémiotique: remontant aux stoïciens, elle rejoint la démarche axiomatique» (Julia Kristeva, Σημειωτικὴ..., Paris: Seuil, 1969, p. 310).
A latent concept aggregating into a clear idea, a set of objects being organized as a recognizable category unobserved or never known with such an intensity or in such a form or not so clearly, and coming finally to attention.
13. (Chronology) emergent year / année émergente:The year from which subsequent years of an era are counted.
14. (Historical linguistics) emerging sign / signe en émergence : A linguistic sign being used more and more frequently, by opposition to a resorbing sign / signe en résorption being less and less used.
(History of sciences). The process by which a field of knowledge aggregates into a recognized discipline, or a set of devices into a specific technique. Emergence d'une nouvelle technique membranaire...- (The title of a work, Clamart: EDI, 1993).
15. (Sociology). The assertion, growing influence, numerical increase of a group, a class, or a community within a society. The Emergence of the Middle Class... (Title of work by Stuart M. Blumin.- Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989.).
VI. History of literature and criticism
The entry of a so far traditional literature into the system of modernity.
The May 4th Movement asserted the emergence of Chinese literature into the cultural landscape of the XXth century.
Some radical changes mark this process, notably, according to the examples: switch from oral to printed literature, change of language, adoption of the Latin alphabet, opening-up to Western literatures, etc. See articles ANCIENS ET MODERNES, MEIJI, MODERNITÉ, MOUVEMENT DU QUATRE MAI, NAHDA, NÉGRITUDE, RENAISSANCE, WELTLITERATUR.
emerging literature; emergent literature / littérature émergente; littérature en émergence : A body of texts produced in a given changing socio-linguistico-political-cultural context taking place in the landscape of world literature and transforming it from the periphery. See article POSTCOLONIAL, HISTOIRE LITTÉRAIRE, PAYSAGE, PÉRIPHÉRIE, DÉCONSTRUCTION, GÉOCRITIQUE.
emergent studies (linguistically emergence studies would be a better term) / études d'émergence: A discipline dealing with the development of new literatures, of new forms of art, expression or communication and of identities based on gender, language, religion, history and/or culture asserting themselves through a particular discourse.
16. (Genre criticism). The legitimization of types of discourses as recognized literary genres. Rise of forms as legitimate literary devices, manifested by their increasing use and acceptance. The emergence of science fiction.
17. (History of criticism). The appearance and development of a new conception of literature, of literary studies, of artistic creation. The emergence of gender criticism (ex.: Marc Angenot, «L'intertextualité: enquête sur l'émergence et la diffusion d'un champ notionnel» (ital. mine), Revue des Sciences Humaines, LX: 189, 1983)
18. (Poetics). The genesis and development of different poetics as new literary systems. «(A) systematic, explicit poetics emerges when an outsanding critical minds (or mind) engage(s) with the then most esteemed literary "genre" (...). (W)estern poetics emerges from Aristotle's definition of literature out of drama (...)» (Earl Miner, RLC, n° 258, 1991, p. 144). See article POÉTIQUE/Poetics.
The character of any phenomenon so far hardly noticeable that critical attention brings into view.
19. The process by which an agency transforms materials into a sensible manifestation, or through which images, phantasms, ideas, figures, representations, etc., appear or become manifest in a subject's mind
This acceptation is marked by the Freudian concept of Darstellberkeit (***?)as «the transformation that the material of the dream undergoes in the formation of the dream». In a similar way, art (specially the visual and performing arts) produces manifestations (images, text, works) which are transfigurations of their materials, see articles ART, FANTASME, FIGURE, FIGURATION, INTERPRÉTATION, MATÉRIEL/Material/STOFF, MISE EN SCÈNE/Stage setting; Stagecraft, TEXTE, PERCEPTION, ex.: «[...] la mise en scène prend des options [...] sur l'émergence de fantasmes visuels» (P. Pavis, Dict. du théâtre, Paris: Messidor, 1987, p. 170). Elaborations of these materials into unique compositions, subjective interpretations of these materials see articles IMAGE, REPRÉSENTATION.
G.Theory of literature
20. (Narratology). An unexpected fact, event or phenomenon that modifies the course of the story, the action, the plot.
point of emergence/point d'émergence : The moment in a text especially a narrative when a complete coherence appears and thereby triggers the
conclusion, the denouement, the end (solution of a mystery, explanation, outcome, unravelling of a plot, reversal of a situation, decisive coup de théâtre, etc.).
(Reception). The growing recognition granted an author or a group of writers by the public, or critics, in the history of literature. The emergence of Victor Hugo.
(Text criticism). The growing importance of a character, a motif, an idea, a theme in the development of a text.
(Myth criticism). The indirect use, not always deliberate, by a writer of mythological or mythical materials in a text by allusions, appropriations of mythemes, etc. It may be the commentary of the critic which makes these elements visible or the work of the analyst which brings these elements to consciousness. See articles INTERTEXTUALITÉ, MYTHE, MYTHOCRITIQUE.
(Intertextuality). The presence of another text, another discourse in a literary work in hardly perceptible allusions, name references, indirect quotations, etc. The surfacing of external elements in a given text has been termed loi d'émergence («emergence law») by Pierre Brunel (see P. Brunel; Y. Chevrel.- Précis de littérature comparée, pp. *).
21. pre-emergence, subst.: The development of conditions which may or will aggregate into a new category of artistic productions, a new literary language, a new discourse, a new literary system (a literature).
horizon of emergence / horizon d’émergence : The configuration of preliminary dispositions making possible, facilitating or conditioning the development of an idea, an emotion, a work of art, an invention, a new medium of communication, a new style, a new art, a new genre, a new literature.
22. emergent poetry (in Portuguese: poesia emergente): A subdivision of the movement of concrete poetry (poesia concreta) launched at the São Paulo exhibition of concrete art in 1956 whith Haroldo de Campos, which specializes in juggling letters in a cryptographic manner in view of making some unexpected, and unique significance «emerge» from the visual distribution of signs on the paper; the emerging effect is superior to the play with signifiers, as no combination of signifieds can offer an explanation. Concrete poetry in general relates to the experiments by the French poets Stéphane Mallarmé and Guillaume Apollinaire, to the material, verbal, visual, vocal effects produced by futurist or dadaist poets, painters, typographers such as Merz or Paul Klee, to the printers' arts; it was fostered by lettrism, spatialism and even pop art. The concrete poem is an object in and by itself using graphic space to produce its effect. Some of its subdivisions along with emergent poetry in the 1960's were semiotic poetry using symbols, kinetic poetry serial methods, phonetic poetry sounds. They could all be termed emergent by the principle they share: the oncoming impression made by a configuration predisposed by the artist. See articles CALLIGRAMME, POÉSIE CONCRÈTE, POÉSIE VISUELLE/Visual poetry.
Emergent poetry designates stricto sensu this particular school of visual poetry, but it can also qualify a type of creation, a category of literary works characterized by the emphasis, on the unexpected effect which arises in the reader's or the spectator's mind, rather than on the meaning the words may convey. JMG
CORRÉLATIONS / Collocations
ABÎME; ABYME; MISE EN ABYME/Abyss; Mirror text, ACCEPTANCE, AFFLEUREMENT/Flushing, ANAMNÈSE/Anamnesis; Remembering, ANTROPOFAGIA/ANTHROPOPHAGIE CULTURELLE, APPROPRIATION/Appropriation, ARCHIVE/Archive, AUTONOMIE/Autonomy, AVANT-COUREUR/Harbinger, AVANT-GARDE/Vanguardismo, AVEU/Avowal, Awareness/PRISE DE CONSCIENCE, AXIOLOGIE/Axiology,
BOOM/Latin American Boom,
CALLIGRAMME, CENTRE/Centre, CHAOS/Chaos, CLINAMEN/Clinamen, COMPARAISON/Comparison, COMPLEXITÉ/Complexity, CONFESSION/Confession, CONSCIENCE/Consciousness, COSMOGONIE/Cosmogony, COURANT/Current, CRÉATEUR/Creator; Creative, CRÉATION/Creation, CRITIQUE/Criticism, CULTURE/Culture, CYBER,
DÉCONSTRUCTION/Deconstruction, DÉNOUEMENT/Denouement, DÉSIR/Desire, DESTIN/Destiny, DÉTÉRIORATION, DÉTERRITORIALISATION/Deterritorialization, DÉVIANCE/Deviation, DÉVOILEMENT/Unveiling, DIFFÉRANCE/Differance, DIFFÉRENCE/Difference, DIFFÉRENCIATION/Differenciation, DISCONTINUITÉ/Discontinuity,
ÉCOLE/School, ÉCRITURE/Writing, EFFET/Effect, ÉMANCIPATION, ÉMIGRATION/Emigration literature, ÉMOTION/Emotion, EMPIRISME/Empiricism, ÉNERGIE/Energy, ENGAGEMENT/Commitment, ENSEMBLE/Bodies of texts, ENTFREMDUNG/ALIÉNATION, ENTRE-DEUX/In-betweenness; Borderline, ENTROPIE /Entropy, Ephebe, ÉPIPHANIE/Epiphany, ESPRIT/Spirit, Mind, Wit, ÉPISTÉMÈ, ESPACE/Space; Area, ESPACE SÉMIOTIQUE/Semiotspace, ESTHÉTIQUE/Æsthetics, Ethnicity/LITTÉRATURE ETHNIQUE, ÉTHNICITÉ/Ethnicity, ÉTUDES CULTURALISTES/Cultural studies, EUROCENTRISME/Eurocentrinty, ÉVALUATION/OTSENKA/Valuation, ÉVÉNEMENT/Event, ÉVOLUTION/Evolution, EXÉGÈSE/Exegesis, EXIL/EXILLITERATUR/Exile literature of, EXOPHONE/Literature in foreign languages, EXPÉRIENCE/ Experience; Experiment, EXPÉRIMENTAL/Experimental, EXPLICATION/Explanation; Explication,
FANTASTIQUE/Fantastics, FATUM; FATALITÉ/Fate; Fatality, FÉMININE/Women' literature, FÉMINISME/Feminism criticism, FINALE/Ending, FORTUNE/Fortune, FOU/Fool; Mad; Freak, FRAYAGE/Facilitation, FUTURISME/Futurism,
GEIST, GÉNÉRATION/Generation, GÉNÉTIQUE/Genetic criticism, GÉOCRITIQUE/Geocriticism, GÉOPOÉTIQUE/Geopoetics, GNOSÉOLOGIE/Gnoseology, GROUPE/Group,
Happening/HAPPENING, Harlem Renaissance, HERMÉNEUTIQUE/Hermeneutics, HÉROÏNE/Heroine, HÉROS/Hero, HÉTÉROGÈNE/Heterogeneity, HISTOIRE/History, Story, HISTOIRE DES IDÉES/History of ideas, HISTOIRE DES MENTALITÉS, HISTOIRE LITTÉRAIRE/History of literature, HORIZON/Horizon, HYBRIDE/Hybrid, HYPERTEXTE/Hypertext,
IDENTITÉ/Identity, IDÉOLOGIE/Ideology, IMAGE/Image, IMAGINATION/Imagination, IMMIGRATION/Immigration, INCONSCIENT/Uncounscious, INDÉPENDANCE/Independence literature, INDÉTERMINATION; INDÉTERMINÉ/Indeterminacy; Indeterminate, INDIGÈNE/Indigenous; Native literature, INFORMATIQUE/Literary computing, ILLETRISME/Illiteracy, INTELLIGENCE ARTIFICIELLE/Artificial intelligence, INTERACTIF/Interactive literature, INTERPRÉTATION/Interpretation, INTERTEXTE/Inter-text, INVENTION/Invention,
LANGUE/Language, LECTURE/Reading, LEERSTELLEN/VIDES/Empty spots, LÉGITIMATION/Legitimation, LIMINALITÉ/Liminality, LISIBLE/Readable; Readely, LITTÉRACIE; LITTÉRATIE, LITTÉRARITÉ/Literariness, LITTÉRATURE/Literature, LITTÉRATURE ÉMERGENTE/Emerjing literature, LITTÉRATURE ETHNIQUE, LITTÉRATURE SOUS DÉPENDANCE/Depending literature, LOGOCENTRISME; PHONOCENTRISME/Logocentricity, LOGOS, LOGOTHÈTE*; LOGOTHESIS, LOI/Law,
MAGISCHER REALISMUS/RÉALISME MERVEILLEUX, MANIFEST(E), MARGE/Margin, MARXISME/Marxist criticism, MÉMOIRE/Memory, MERVEILLEUX/Marvellous, MÉTAPHORE/Metaphore, MÉTASTABILITÉ/Metastability, MINEURE/Minor literature, MINORITAIRE; MINORITÉS/Literature of minorities, MODÈLE/Model, MODERNITÉ/Modernity, MOUVEMENT/Movement, MOUVEMENT DU QUATRE MAI/Chinese May 4th Movement, MULTIPLE; MULTIPLICITÉ/Multiplicity, MYTHE/Myth, MYTHE LATENT, MYTHOCRITIQUE/Myth criticism, MYTHOLOGIE/Mythology,
NATION/Nation, NATIONAL/National, NÉGRITUDE/Negritude, NOMADOLOGIE/Nomadology, NOUVEAU/New, NOUVEAUTÉ/Novelty,
OPPOSITION/Opposition, ORIGINALITÉ/Originality, OULIPO/Oulipo,
PALIMPSESTE/Palimpeste, PARADOXE/Paradox, PAROLE/Speech; Word, PAYSAGE/Landscape, PERCÉE/Breakthrough, PÉRIODE/Period, PÉRIODISATION/Periodization, PÉRIPHÉRIQUE/Peripheral literature, PERFORMATIF/Performative, PHÉNOMÈNE, PHÉNOMÉNOLOGIE/Phenomenology, POÉSIE CONCRÈTE/POESIA CONCRETA/Concrete poetry, POÉTIQUE/Poetics, POLITIQUE/Political literature, POLYSYSTÈME/Polysystem, POPULAIRE/Popular, POSTCOLONIAL/Postcolonial, POSTMODERNISME/Postmodernism, PRÉCURSEUR/Forerunner; Precursor; Precursory, PRÉSENCE/Presence, PRISE DE CONSCIENCE/Awarness, PROCESSUS/Process, PROLÉTARIENNE/Proletarian literature, PROPHÉTIE/Prophety, PUNCTUM,
RÉCEPTION/Reader-response, RENAISSANCE/Renaissance; Revival, RETOUR DU REFOULÉ, RÉVOLUTION/Revolution, RHIZOME/Rhizome, ROMANTISME/Romanticism, RUPTURE/Rupture; Breaking,
SCRIPTIBLE/Writerly, SENS/Sense; Meaning, Shift, SIGNIFICATION/Signification; Meaning, SOURCE/Source, Speech act theory, STRUCTURALISME, STRUCTURE/Structure, STYLE/Style, STYLISTIQUE/Stylistics; Stylistic, SUJET/Subject, SURFACE/Surface, SYNESTHÉSIE/Synæthesis, SYSTÈME/System,
TÉMOIGNAGE/Testimony; Personnal experience narrative, THÉORIE LITTÉRAIRE/Theory of literature, TRACE/Trace, TRAGÉDIE/Tragedy, TRAGIQUE/Tragic, TROPE/Trope,
VALEUR/Value, VERBE/VERBUM/Word, VIRTUEL/Virtual, VISIBILITÉ, VOLKSGEIST,
WELTANSCHAUUNG, Word fiction,
NOMENCLATURES / Families of terms
AFFECTS/Emotions, AFRIQUE/Africa, AMÉRIQUE LATINE/Latin America, AMÉRIQUES/Americas, ANGLAIS/English studies, ANGLOPHONIE/Literature in
English, ANTHROPOLOGIE/Ethnography, AUSTRALIE/Australia, AVANT-GARDE/Vanguard, AXIOLOGIE/Value systems,
CANADA/Canada, CATÉGORIES GÉNÉRIQUES/Literary kinds, COGNITIF/Knowledge, COMPARATISME/Comparative literature,
COURANTS/Currents, CULTURE/Cultural studies,
EFFETS/Effects, ÉMERGENCE/Emergent process, ENSEMBLES/Literary systems, ÉPISTOLAIRE/Letter writing, ESTHÉTIQUE/Æsthetics,
FEMININ/Women's studies, FORMES/Forms, FRANCOPHONIE/Literatures in French, FRANCOPHONIE/Literature in French,
GÉNÉTIQUE/Text production, GENRES/Genre criticism, GÉOCRITIQUE/Geocriticism,
HERMÉNEUTIQUE/Interpretation, HISTOIRE/Historical criticism and New historicism, HISTOIRE DES IDÉES/History of ideas, HISTOIRE LITTÉRAIRE/History of literature, HYPÉRONYMES/Generic terms,
IDENTITÉ/Selfness, IDÉOLOGIE/Ideology, IMAGINATION/Imagination, INSTITUTION/Establishment, INTERCULTURALITÉ/Intercultural relations, INTERTEXTUALITÉ/Intertext,
MOUVEMENT/Movement, MYTHE/Myth criticism,
PHÉNOMÉNOLOGIE/Phenomenology, PHILOSOPHIE/Philosophy, POÉTIQUE/Poetics, POLITIQUE/Political literatures, POSTMODERNISME/Postmodern, PROCÉDÉ/Devices, PROCESSUS/Processes, PSYCHOLOGIE/Psychology,
RÉCEPTION/Reader response, REGISTRE/Tone, RÉVOLUTION/Revolutionary process,
SÉMANTIQUE/Semantics, SÉMIOLOGIE/Semiology and semiotics, SOCIÉTÉ/Social studies, SPATIALITÉ/Space, STRUCTURES/Structuralism and Post-structuralism,
TEMPORALITÉ/Time structures, THÉORIE/Theory of literature,
Acceptation, Accident, Acculturation, Advenance, Adventice, Adventif, Affect, Affleurement, Afrique, Agent, Agrégation, Aléatoire, Alexander (Samuel), Aliénation, Altérité, Amérique latine, Amériques, Anamnèse, Angleterre, Anglophone, Anglophonie, Anthropologie, Anthropophagie culturelle, Antilles, Antropofagia, Apparition, Appropriation, Archive (Foucault), Aspiration, Attente, Australie, Autodéfinition, Autonomie, Autre, Avant-coureur, Avant-garde, Avènement, Aventure, Aveu, Axiologie,
Bachelard (Gaston), Barthes (Roland), Bergson (Henri), Bien culturel, Big bang, Bizarre, Boom, Brésil, Brunel (Pierre),
Calligramme, Canada, Cannibalisme littéraire, Canon, Canonisation, Caraïbe, Carnavalisation, Catalyseur, Catastrophe, Catégories génériques, Causalité, Centre, Changement, Chaos, Chicane, Clinamen, Cognitive, Colonial, Comparaison, Comparatisme, Comparative literature, Complexité, Concept, Confession, Configuration, Connexionnisme, Conquête, Conscience, Conscience ou morale, Constructivisme, Contact, Contingence, Contingent, Continuum, Continuité, Contradiction, Corpus, Couplage, Couplage de textes, Courant, Créateur, Création, Créationisme, Crise, Cristallisation, Critique, Croisement, Culture, Cyberespace,
Décentrement, Décolonisation, Déconstruction, Déculturation, Défamiliarisation, Deleuze (Gilles), Dénouement, Dépendance, Derrida (Jacques), Désordre, Déterminisme, Déterritorialisation, Développement, Déviance, Discours, Différance, Différence, Différenciation, Dynamique,
École, École littéraire, Écriture, Effet, Élan vital, Élément, Émanation, Émancipation, Émergence, Émigration, Émotion, Empire, Énergie, Engagement, Engels (Friedrich), Ensemble, Entfremdung, Entre-deux, Entropie, Envol, Épiphanie, Épistémè (Foucault), Épistolaire, Erruption, Espace, Espagnol, Esprit, Esthétique, Ethnicité, Ethnique, Étrangeté, Études culturelles, Eurocentrisme, Évaluation, Événement, Exégèse, Exil, Exilliteratur, Exophone, Expérimental, Explication, Éveil, Évolution, Évolutionisme,
Facilitation, Fantastique, Fatalisme, Fatum, Féminisme, Filiation, Finale, Folie, Formalisme, Forme, Fortune, Fou, Fragage, Francophonie, Futur,
Geist, Génératif, Génération, Genèse, Génétique, Genres, Géocritique, Géopoétique,
Harlem, Hasard, Herméneutique, Héroïne, Héros, Hétérogène, Histoire, Histoire des idées, Histoire des mentalités, Histoire littéraire, Historicité, Héritage, Historiographie, Holisme, Horizon, Hypothèse,
Identitaire, Identité, Idéologie, Illétrisme, Image, Imagination, Imitateur, Immergence, Immigration, Immigré, Impérialisme, Inanticipable, Inconnu, Inconscient, Inde, Indépendance, Indéterminé, Indétermination, Indigène, Influence, Innovation, Institution, Intégration, Intelligence, Intelligence artificielle, Interculturalité, Internet, Interprétation, Intertexte, Intertextualité, Intuition, Invention, Irrationnel, Irruption, Italien,
Langue, Latent, Lectorat, Lecture, Légitimation, Lewes (George Henry), Libération, Liberté, Liminalité, Linguistique, Littérarité, Littératie, Littérature, Littérature ethnique, Littérature sous dépendance, Logocentrisme, Logothesis, Logothète, Loi, Lutte,
Manifeste, Marginalité, Marx (Karl), Marxisme, Meiji, Mémoire, Mentalisme, Merveilleux, Métaphore, Métastabilité, Mineure (littérature), Minoritaire, Minorités, Mode, Modèle, Modernité, Modification, Morgan (C. Lloyd), Mouvement, Mouvement du quatre mai, Multiculturalisme, Mythe, Mythocritique, Mythologie,
Naissance, Nation, National, Négritude, Néguentropie, Non-advenu, Norme, Nouveau, Nouveauté, Novateur,
Objet émergent, Occurrence, Organique, Originalité, Ostranenie, Oulipo, Outil d’analyse,
Palimpseste, Paradoxe, Parole, Passé, Patrimoine, Paysage, Percée, Période, Périodisation, Périphérie, Périphérique, Phallogocentrisme, Phénomène, Phénoménologie, Philosophie, Phonocentrisme, Picaresque, Poésie concrète, Poesia concreta, Poésie sémiotique, Poétique, Politique, Politiquement correct, Polysystème, Populaire, Post-colonial, Postmodernisme, Potentialité, Poussée, Précurseur, Premier plan, Principe, Prise de conscience, Procédés, Processus, Prolétarienne, Prophétie, Psychologie,
Réalisation, Réalisme merveilleux, Réalité virtuelle, Recentrement, Réception, Reconnaissance, Reconquête, Registre, Re-mémoire, Renaissance, Réveil, Revendication, Révolution, Rhizome, Roman, Romantisme, Rougemont (Denis de), Rupture,
Science-fiction, Sémantique, Sémiologie, Sensibilité, Sens, Signification, Smut (Jan Christiaan), Spécificité, Société, Source, Sous-genre, Sous-jacent, Spatialité, Statut, Structure, Structuralisme, Structure, Style, Stylistique, Subversion, Sujet, Surface, Survenance, Synapse, Système,
Teilhard de Chardin (Pierre), Temporalité, Temps, Text production, Thématique, Théorie, Théorie littéraire, Tiers-Monde, Tonalité, Trace, Tradition, Tragédie, Tragique, Transculturalisme, Transformation, Trope, Type,
Valeur, Visibilité, Virtualité, Volksgeist,
Weltanschauung, Williams (Raymond), World fiction,
Acceptance, Acculturation, Acquired language, Advent, Aesthetics, Africa, Agency, Alexander (Samuel), Alienatic, Americas, Anamnesis, Antropofagia, Anthropology, Apparition, Appropriation, Archive, Artificial intelligence, Aspiration, Australia, Autodefinition, Autonomy, Avowal, Awakening, Awareness, Axiologie,
Bachelard (Gaston), Background, Barthes (Roland), Bergson (Henri), Big-bang, Biology, Birth, Bodies of texts, Boom, Brazil, Breakthrough,
Calligramme, Canada, Canonization, Carribeau, Carnavalization, Catalyst, Catastrophe, Causality, Center, Centre, Chance, Change, Chaos, Chicane, Chinese May 4th Movement, Claim, Clinamen, Colonial, Committment, Commodity, Comparative literature, Comparison, Complexity, Concept, Concrete poetry, Confession, Conflict, Conquest, Consciousness, Constructivism, Contact, Contingency, Contingent, Continuum, Continuity, Contradiction, Corpus, Coupling, Creation, Creationism, Creative, Creator, Crisis, Criticism, Cross-cultural exchanges, Crystallisation, Culture, Cultural, Cultural studies, Currents, Cyber,
Decentring, Decolonization, Deconstruction, Deconstuctionist criticism, Deculturation, Deleuze (Gilles), Denouement, Dependence, Depending literature, Derrida (Jacques), Destiny, Determinacy, Deterritorialization, Development, Deviance, Deviation, Devices, Differance, Difference, Differenciation, Discourse, Disorder, Dynamics,
Effect, Element, Emanation, Emancipation, Emergent poetry, Emerging literatures, Emerging process, Emigration literature, Emotion, Emotional, Empiricism, Ending, Energy, Engels (Friedrich), English studies, Entropy, Ephebe, Epiphany, Epistémè (Foucault), Eruption, Establishment, Estrangement, Ethnicity, Ethnography, Eurocentrism, Evaluation, Event, Evolution, Evolutionism, Exegesis, Exil literature of, Expatriates, Expectation, Experience, Experiment, Explanation, Explication,
Facilitation, Fantastics, Fatality, Fate, Feminism criticism, Figure, Figure and ground, Flowering, Flushing, Fool, Foreground, Forms, Formalism, Forerunner, Fortune, Freak, Freedom, French, Future,
Generation, Generative, Genesis, Genetic criticism, Genre criticism, Geocriticism, Geopoetics, Gnoseology, Ground, Group, Growth,
Happening, Harbinger, Harlem renaissance, Heritage, Hermeneutics, Hero, Heterogeneity, Historical criticism and New historicism, Historicity, Historiography, History, History of ideas, History of literature, Holism, Horizon, Hybrid, Hypertext, Hypothesis,
Identity, Ideology, Image, Imagination, Immergence, Immigration, Imperialism, Impression, In-between, Independence literature, Indeterminacy, Indeterminate, India, Indigenous, Influence, Innovation, Innovator, Integration, Interactive literature, Intercultural relations, Internet, Interpretation, Intertext, Intuition, Invention, Irrational, Irruption, Italian,
Kinds of discourses,
Landscape, Language, Latency, Latin America, Latin America Boom, Law, Legitimization, Leerstellen, Letter writing, Lewes (George Henry), Liberation, Liberty, Liminality, Literacy, Literariness, Literary computing, Literary establishment, Literary kinds, , Literary school, Literary systems, Literature, Literature in English, Literature in foreign languages, Literature in French, Literature of minorities, Logocentrism, Logothesis, Logothete,
Mad, Magischer realismus, Manifest, Margin, Marvellous, Marx (Karl), Marxist criticism, Materials, Meaning, Meiji, Memory, Mentalism, Metaphore, Metastability, Mind, Minor literature, Minority, Mode, Model, Modernity, Modification, Momentum, Morgan (C. Lloyd), Movement, Myth, Myth criticism, Mythology,
National, National literature, Native literature, Negritude, New, Norm, Novel, Novelty,
Occurrence, Organic, Originality, Ostranenie, Otherness, Oulipo, Outcome, Outgrowth, Overturning,
Palimpsest, Paradox, Past, Pattern, Period, Periodization, Peripheral literature, Phallogocentrism, Phenomene, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Phonocentrism, Poetics, Politic, Political literature, Political correctness, Polysystem, Popular, Postmodern, Postmodernism, Potentiality, Principle, Processes, Prophecy, Psychology,
Readable, Readerly, Reader response, Reading, Realisation, Recentering, Reception, Recognition, Reconquest, Remembering, Re-memory, Renaissance, Resurgence, Revendication, Revolution, Revolutionary process, Rise, Rougemont (Denis de), Romanticism, Rupture,
School, Screenagers, Self, Self definition, Self determination, Selfness, Semantics, Semiology, Semiotics, Sense, Shapes, Shift, Smut (Jan Christiaan), Social studies, Sociology, Source, Speech, Speech act theory, Specificity, Space, Spanish, Spirit, Status, Strangeness, Structuralism and Post-structuralism, Structure, Struggle, Style, Stylistics, Subject, Subversion, Supervening, Surface, Surge, Synapsis, Synaestesis, System,
Takeoff, Technology, Teilhard de Chardin (Pierre), Text production, Theory of literature, Third World, Time structures, Tone, Trace, Tradition, Tragic, Tragedy, Transformation, Trope,
Uncounscious, Undercurrent, Unity, Unknown, Urgency,
Value systems, Vanguard, Vanguardismo, Virtual reality, Virtuality, Visibility, Vision, Volksgeist,
Weird, Weltanschauung, Whole, Wit, Women literature, Women's rights, Women's studies, Word, World fiction, Writerly, Writing,
ÉQUIVALENTS / Correspondences
Allemand / German : Emergenz; Entstehung («formation»); Geburt («birth»); Herkunft («origin»).
Anglais / English : emergence; adj.: emergent / emerging literature, new literature; postcolonial literature; rise (of the novel, of an idea), flowering (French «floraison»), organic growth (French «poussée organique»), breakthrough (French «percée»). A number of uses of the word shift (French «changement, mutation, saut(e), renversement, décalage, etc.») imply an idea of emergence through the unprogrammed apparition of a phenomenon, the development of a phenomenon outside the inner logic of the system, the passage to another order of reality, of reasoning. As a verb: to surface (unlike to emerge), and to re-surface (French «remonter à la surface») rather refer to unwelcome events.
Arabe / Arabic :
Chinois / Chinese : lu chu, chu xian.
Coréen / Korean :
Danois / Danish :
Espagnol / Spanish : emergencia; literatura emergente.
Français / French : Generally: émergence; adj: émergent, but émergeant as the past participle of the verb émerger. Although frequent, this term of French origin, which has been use for a long time in the French language (1498 in its legal acceptation and 1720 in physics), is sometimes connoted as an Anglicism, especially in such economical and political instances as emerging markets, emerging countries (marchés émergents, pays émergents) (for instance Le Robert & Collins Super Senior/Grand dictionnaire anglais-français offers only two French equivalents for the English word emergence: apparition about truth, facts, and naissance in theory or as a school of thought, but not the expected émergence. On the contrary, the French-English volume give source of a spring for émergence d'une source.
With shades in meaning: naissance («birth»), apparition, développement, envol («taking flight, takeoff», ex. «L'envol du roman», F. et P. Gerbod, Introd. à la vie litt. du XXe siècle, Paris: Bordas, 1986, pp. 77 sq.), percée («breakthrough), avènement («advent», ex.: «L'avènement poétique des Novissimos», M.C. Zimmernan, congrès SFLGC, Toulouse, 1987), genèse, montée («rise»), essor (d'une littérature, d'un genre, d'un registre, d'une écriture, d'une thématique, d'une forme, d'une sensibilité, d'un lectorat («readership»), d'une école («school»), d'un groupe militant, d'une génération, etc.); naissance et affirmation (de la nouvelle as in the title of the syllabus for the French «agrégation» competition in 1997);
littérature émergente, littérature d'émergence (title of a series of publications by Editions Zoé, Geneva);
also with shades in meaning: nouveaux horizons littéraires; nouvelle littérature; littérature jeune; nouvelle écriture; littérature d'émancipation; littérature postcoloniale.
As «surfacing» of a myth, a theme in a text, etc., with nuances in meaning: affleurement (litt. «coming flush»), irradiation, dissémination, trace, allusion, repérage, renvoi.
Grec / Greek :
Hongrois / Hungarian :
Italien / Italian : emergenza; letteratura emergente, nuova letteratura.
Hébreu / Hebrew :
Japonais / Japanese :
Néerlandais / Dutch :
Persan / Farsi :
Polonais / Polish :
Portugais / Portuguese : emergência ; literatura emergente.
Roumain / Romanian :
Russe / Russian : <,FH@ &ZN@*" >"DJ0J mesto vyxoda naruñu; &>e2"B>@, B@b&:,>4, vnezapnoe pojavlenie.
Viêtnamien / Vietnamese :
COMMENTAIRE / Analysis
The theory of Emergence in science and poetics (JMG)
I. The epistemology of emergence.
II. The poetics of emergence
1. Literature: the emergence of the subject
2. Textuality: the emergence of coherence
3. Reading: the emergence of literariness
III. The semantics of emergence
1. Interpretation: the surfacing of meaning 2. Intertextuality: the emergence of themes, myths
3. Deconstruction: margin and decentring.
IV. The history of emergences
1. The emergence of genres, forms, discourses
2. The emergence of medias
3. The emergence of literatures
I. The epistemology of emergence (JMG)
The notion of emergence is used in many fields of thought and activity; it is applied to objects of different realms and areas. The word is a fairly frequent occurrence in the common language. Its uses in specialized and scientific texts range from physics to poetics, with law, medicine, sociology, especially epistemology and linguistics, history (notably in the development of new literatures), cultural studies (the perception of mythical allusions in a text as Pierre Brunel's loi d'émergence), etc. The emergence process can be observed in biology, with the evolution theory, in sociology about social changes, in aesthetics as a psychological response with artistic genetics and poetics, etc. In epistemology, emergence describes the transformations that occur in the spectrum of sciences, in what we may call the cognitive landscape or in what Michel Foucault terms épistémè. The specific uses of emergence in recent literary historiography call for a definition of the function of emergence process as an evolution function. In this perspective, the post-modern principle of emergence might legitimize the scientific status of art and literature studies. Diverse as they may be, the uses of the term emergence describe a phenomenon which is new, growing, and noticeable. An empirical approach makes it possible to delimit the field of emergence by telling which systems are actually described as emerging or emergent, and possibly why. As a term emergence is explicitly a spatial metaphor a dynamic one : an emerging phenomenon bursts from underwater (the submarine world is like a chtonian chaos where life is boiling up) through the surface into view. As the manifestation of an unsuspected reality, literally an epiphany (what can be seen -phanien- above -epi- the sea).
The newness of emergents («undetermined results»)relates to the principle of creation, the creation of the world as well as the creation of the work of art. The theology of creation bears important philosophical and epistemological implications as prolegomena to a theory of emergence. In the Genesis, the passage between pre-existing chaotic conditions to a differentiated form is achieved by the virtue of a speech act which implies a subject in a chain of communication. This process is fundamental to a poetics of the emerging literary fact: the text aggregates into a unique discourse (composition), rises to meaning and is offered to appropriation of a reader (interpretation). Then it integrates the common treasure of human knowledge. As phenomena come into view, and gain acceptance, they modify the existing cognitive landscape. Emergents make history; they are history.
The three aspects of emergence as a principle («Epistemology»), as a process («Poetics»), and as a phenomenon («Textuality») are constitutive of history. The reception, acceptation, or appropriation of the emergent fact by an observer is a requisite of the process. As such emergence allows an hermeneutics of history, of language, of thought, of creation, of the Creation.
Different ways of defining it depend on the aspect which is foregrounded, whether one considers emergence.
As a process, or as a phenomenon.
As reception, or perception.
Or, more frequently, as a combination there of. It can be:
An idea that is gaining acceptance.
A form of discourse attaining an artistic status.
A narrative pattern becoming widely used.
A community asserting its identity through literature.
A body of texts (ensemble littéraire) taking place in the «landscape» of world literature, etc.
The generative and reception aspects can be analysed in three moments : shaping, epiphany and reception. What emerges is not an object appearing ex-nihilo, but rather a phenomenon in progress, an artefact taking shape, preexisting elements aggregating into new shape.
The basic seme of emergence underlying virtually all acceptations is that a phenomenon is coming forth unexpectedly out of a medium. The relationship between the emergent object and the medium allows for variations, but the appearing phenomenon is never the direct product of the issuing medium. The addition or combination of the elements of the pre-existing configuration is not sufficient to determine the emergent. We have emergence when a system produces a phenomenon which is not the determined consequence of its own workings.
There is always something unexpected which arises from a given situation, even it all the basic ingredients of the phenomenon are already present in the medium. The analysis of a given social situation for instance cannot tell with certainty if and when a revolution will emergence, and what the out come of it will be; this perspective of emergence obviously disagrees with a strictly determined theory of history. In a close relationship of cause and effect, the observer can tell what the result of a fact will necessarily be, but in an emergence perspective; one can only predict what might happen with some degree of probability. What actually happens always bears a part of imponderables, like in weather science or stock exchange predictions.
The conceptions of emergence in cultural and literary studies have been obviously influenced by various doctrines of evolutionism in sociology and anthropology, even though they may differ fundamentally on the assumption that history (including the history of literature) is oriented towards some finality. The unconditional praise that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels bestowed on the work of the American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan may be a cause of misunderstanding about emergent history. Morgan attempted to reconstitute the history of family, property, morals and state throughout the ages. The succession of three essential stages (roughly : savagery, barbarity, civilization) was a model which was acclaimed as a breakthrough in the history of mankind. Four ideas especially contributed to the theory of emergence:
1. Change is liable to several directions and meanings;
2. Sociocultural changes occur on the system, not only on individual features; they are radical, or even revolutionary;
3. Cultural features and social institutions have different origins, but parallel developments;
4. Social changes are somehow linked with economy.
Marx and Engels were enthusiastic about an idea which provided a single key to order the evolution of societies down to the capitalistic era. As sociologists or ethnologists, various evolutionists of the late 19th century tried to provide the historians with an interpretative model capable to organize phenomena into logical sequences, each stage arising, «emerging» from the preceding one to accomplish a novel function not met by it.
Marx construes the history of the world as series of steps, of modes of productions (unequal repartition of the fruit of work), leading finally to the foretold advent of equalitarian socialism. The processes devised by him may be considered as emergent, as each step is superior to the preceding conditions; but they differ from a pure theory of emergence according to the degree of determinism affected to them. The emergence of new literatures can be ascribed by Marxist theory to the history of modes of production. But in Marxist thinking, history has an orientation, a direction, an end making it more or less determined. It projects on to the future a necessary model which was established by the interpretation of the past: some kind of a law “scientifically” governs what is bound to emerge finally: socialism.
Marxist theory both confirms and contradicts the emergence process. When it establishes the laws and the direction of history, it puts itself in the position of predicting the course of events, (the advent of the socialist state), that are bound to happen in a determined process, at least at the macrospic level. Revolution appears both as the emergence and the end of History. Militancy is participating in the process, being part of emergence, being a facilitator of emergence. Committed literature aims at being a determinant factor in a liberation movement. From a revolutionary point of view, des-alienation is the emergence of History.
Emergent evolutionists on their part, by definition, do not know what is going to emerge, when and how; they can only make predictions of what may, could, is likely to happen, well knowing that the emergent phenomenon is going to upset the model whether from the onset, or at some unexpected point. Emergent facts and stages can be interpreted only when they have become manifest. The structure of history can be apprehended only when its elements are manifest; the response of the historian constructing a logic in the chaos of accidents becomes an essential part of emergence by his or her function. Emergence evolutionism too has something to say about the future, not what is going to happen in a deterministic logic, but how it is going to happen: unexpectedly, differently, visibly. Roughly summarized emergence is not history, it is the principle of history.
The dissemination of the idea of emergence had a considerable impact on the theory of literature and the basics of literary history: as the study of literature was attempting to establish itself as a legitimate science, finally the scholar was freed from the obligation of proving that the same causes necessarily bring the same consequences as hard sciences are supposed to do. Experimental sciences constantly have trouble in attempting to establish and verify laws. No single event repeats itself perfectly. By. some kind of an accident, a miracle is always liable to happen; imponderables always interferes with nominal readings; a breakthrough may radically alter the conditions; a providential event will possibly upset the logic of events. On the contrary social and biological sciences observe phenomena which did occur, which may occur, but which do not necessarily occur at a given time or under a given form. The theory of evolution legitimized the assumption that life and the appearance of man are an undetermined process. In these areas, futurology is a most hazardous activity: in the medium and long terms, what actually happens is rarely what was forecast; hence the prominence of the notions of trend, evolution, revolution, chance, surge, ad-venture (L. adventura), supervening (F. survenance, «advenance») over the idea of law. Evolutionists worked on the assumption that the simple is anterior to the complex; emergence in this view is the organization of simple elements into a complex structure that surpasses them.
The boldest attempt to establish literature as a science based on «laws» was probably the attempsts made by the Russian Formalists in the twenties. According to Shklovskij's «second law» (the «first» one being «deautomatization»), literary change is viewed as a permanent relation between a center and a periphery. In the perspective of emergence however the relation is not permanent: it is modified, not its elements, in a way which cannot be determined by precedents. This quest for laws resulted in an endless process of corrections and revisions: the formalist ostranenie or estrangement (defamiliarization) hypothesis for instance was replaced by the deautomatization one which it self had to be several times readjusted. The only laws rather that could be constructed in literary theory would rather be models of probable or possible (not determined) recurrences, which is in fact to acknowledge the primacy of the emergence principle in any event.
Emergence is linked with the idea of resurgence. A new phenomenon is normally the resurgence in a new mode, a new environment, under new forms, of old models, old materials. Emergence phenomena usually are a dialectical result of tradition and novelty. In his work on African emergence, Jean-Dominique Pénel uses the antonymous concept of immergence preceding emergence and necessary to emergence.
What emerges to the surface is what had been sunk below. There, some maturing had been boiling until it pops out unexpected as a novel phenomenon. Thus repression of unwanted elements into the unconscious eventually leads to their resurgence in strange situations. V. article TRACE.
Structuralism can construct hypothetical models of change by the superposition of similar events. These structures remain abstractions likely to be verified in actual situations, but never attaining the force of a determining law. Each time something new emerges in conformity or not with recognized patterns.
History, literary history in particular, mainly extends its knowledge in the a posteriori mode. What can be inferred from the explanation of the past is less what is going to happen as a consequence of the present configuration than moral, social, economical, political teachings: they help man to determine a course of action, or widen his vision of the world. History is in continual emergence: what happens in the human realm is not entirely enclosed in the elements available to observation. Birth itself is pure emergence, a unique event; the preceding conditions, acts, events, cannot determine the phenomenon; death may be the end of emergence, unless, as religious belief speculates, it is the emergence of a new life, the condition of re-emergence of life. While physical sciences observe existing structures in nature, social and literary sciences build, devise, or imagine structures in the maelstrom of emerging events by a «rising level of abstraction».
II. The poetics of emergence
1. Literature: the emergence of the subject
20th century criticism and literary theory have been dominated by structuralist and formalist thinking. Mere observation of forms and the most imaginative organization of them into structures, or structures of structures (if we already consider forms as structures), hardly account for the genesis of these forms. How they came into existence, into view is a matter of emergence. Any theory of creation necessitates an epistemological reversal as it deals with the unknown, the unknowable. The creative process itself does not fall under observation: phenomena are the outcome of creation, not creation itself. It cannot be analyzed into elements; no combination of antecedents can determine what is coming out. Obviously, creation, the Creation itself, is pure emergence. If creation cannot be observed, its process however can be put into discourse. If there is a discourse, it is a discourse on the unknown and the superior. Very aptly, James Joyce put a quote from Ovid's Metamorphoses (viii, 188) as an exergue to his quest novel about creation, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916): «Et ignotas aninum dimitit in artes» (he abandoned his mind, spirit, soul, desire, will / into / unknown, unknowable, unexpected, unexplored, unheard-of, unwonted, unprecedented / creation, arts, knowledge, skills, experience/). Creation is an process in-being, an experience to come, literally an ad-venture. The arts that are going to emerge from the poet's activity are unprecedented.
The concept of a work of art as organic whole superior to its components is common to various contemporary theories of literature; it can be traced to Samuel T. Coleridge down to I. A. Richards and the New Criticism. Creation is defined in this perspective as the organic growth of a superior coherence through the agency of the imagination. The workings of imagination go beyond mechanical structuring.
The contemporary concept of emergence certainly is also owed to Henri Bergson's variations on mentalism in L'évolution créatrice.
No one probably has described the emergence of the poetic image more aptly than Gaston Bachelard («un soudain relief du psychisme», «l'essentielle actualité, l'essentielle nouveauté psychique du poème», La poétique de l'espace, 1957, p. 2). He lay the ground for a postmodern science of poetry when he acknowledges that the poetical act has no past, at least no recent history of antecedents in which the critic could trace its preparation, its surge, finally its «advent» (avènement). The relation of the emerging poetic image to an underlying archetype nestling in the unconscious is not, says Bachelard, causal.
Confession, or avowal – that is the sudden admission into the open of a truth which rose to the consciousness of the subject, or of something which remained hidden to outside knowledge and finally went public – is a model of emergence and possibly of literary production. The writer comes forward with a text. The phenomenon has antecedents (its materials, its forms, its social and mental conditioning, etc.), but its effect is not in its elements: it hinges on the subjects involved in the literary process. What the confession does to the person who confesses, to the persons who make him or her confess, to the persons he or she confesses to emerges from the discourse but transcends the materials of the confession itself which in other circumstances would produce other sets of meanings. This revelation works as an interaction of selfness and otherness. One does not admit only to him- or herself, but above all to others, the others, the other; the admission has an effect on the confessor in so far it bears an impact on the confident. Truth sets free but also limits, brings order but also subverts, reveals but also suppresses. Like literature, psychological or criminal confession is an epiphany in words, a potent revelation springing from words which are in themselves quite unworthy of the effects they have on the subjects involved.
Poets describe the poetic experience as a sudden encounter, a fugitive emotion that only language may re-appropriate, like the passer-by whose glance allowed Charles Baudelaire to be suddenly born again to beauty («Un éclair... puis la nuit! - Fugitive beauté / Dont le regard m'a fait soudainement renaître», «A une passante», Les Fleurs du Mal); the lady is gone forever, leaving the would-be lover wanting, but the emergent situation set the poet's mind in motion; then the poem is an extended access to a spiritual reality once perceived in a flash of lightning (l'éclair).
These moments of epiphany are made possible by the emergence of an unexpected factor of perception. This phenomenon constitutes a case of poetic synaesthesia. In physiology, synaesthesia is a sensation felt in one part of the body when another one is stimulated; in psychology, a stimulus may produce a sensation of a different order, as when a smell evokes a color. The complexity of a system allows effects of a different nature than its antecedents beyond the realm of the triggering incident. This allows the poet to perceive "correspondences" (Baudelaire's Correspondances) between realms and receive intimations of the unity of the universe.
2. Textuality: the emergence of coherence
3. Reading: The emergence of literariness
The difference established by Roland Barthes (S/Z) between readable or readerly (lisibles) and writerly (scriptibles) texts may be a measure of the capacity at emergence. A readable text has its meaning included in it; with its reliance on conventions, it meets the horizon of expectations of the reader resulting in a fixed or closed meaning. The writerly text on the contrary defamiliarizes the reader by deviation, violations of conventions. The reader has to construct coherences of meaning. The meaning that emerges from the text through the act of interpretation is not final; the locus of emergence is the writerly text interpreted by an undetermined subject. The text is «ourselves writing»; its context of production, its intertextuality, its context of reception, the psyche of the writer and the reader, etc. may affect the process, but none of these conditions, nor a combination of many, strictly determines what happens in the reader's mind. The outcome of a reading act can only be appreciated once it has occurred; each reading is unique and none can be in perfect conformity with a canon.
It is from this particular act of reading that an effect of literariness (effet de littérarité) may emerge. A literary text is a text from which a literary effect is apt to emerge. The quality of the literary emotions that a text elicits (constitutes one axiology principle governing judgments passed on the value of works. The less linguistically, the less semantically determined, the more emergent a text is. Of course not any meaning may come out of the particular configuration of elements in a given text, but the agregation of them into signification is a subjective process achieved by the reader, the critic, the interpreter. Among the active factors contributing to emergence in this case are his or her culture, his horizon of expectations, his or her personal mood, the social environment, etc.
3. Deconstruction: margin and decentring
Emergence can be viewed as an outcome process of decentering as deconstructionists see it.
[Elements only appear to aggregate into a structure which transcends them when the structure is viewed, or interpreted as such. The observer has to find some explanation to the ever unpredictable event if the latter is to constitute a phenomenon emerging (as in the linguistic sense) to science. Thus structuralism attempts to devise forms in the emergent object by the analysis of apparently related phenomena and the construction of a model through a rising level of abstraction.
In terms of post-structuralism and deconstruction, an emergence is a fact not governed by a transcendental subject. Events are just things that happen. In literature, a text emerges: it can not be underwritten by an origin, a presence in Jacques Derrida's vocabulary, an author's intention, a fixed meaning, an extra-systemic entity, a point of reference, or center of authority. Emergence rather works within the play of differences which Derrida believes to be the sole source of meaning.
Two readings of the same text are possible whether it is construed according to the canons of established literature, or in view of its difference, its breaking away from usual patterns, its originality, its deviation, still in other words its strangeness, its marginality.
Meaning is an emerging process produced by its difference from other possible meanings never reaching an ultimate, final or definitive resolution. It always remains subjective, relational, volatile. Emergence, then, appears as an opposite of and an alternative to logocentrism, a validating presence fixing linguistic meaning, ascribing a direction, an order, an end to events. It fits the description of the notion coined by Derrida differance both a diverging difference according to Ferdinand de Saussure's definition and ever deffered meaning.
Jacques Derrida's portemanteau term différance carries the idea of deferment.
Contrary to logocentric thought which posits the presence of an extra-systemic origin guaranteeing fixed meanings, différance considers meaning as volatile and unstable, produced by its difference from other meanings, and ever deferred.
III. The semantics of emergence
1. Interpretation: the surfacing of meaning
Emergence may be viewed under two main aspects: either as a natural process making a phenomenon evident like a rock emerging at low tide, or as the result of a critical or cognitive activity bringing facts, as well as interpretations to the scope of knowledge and consciousness, as meaning emerges from a cryptogram when deciphered or decoded. In both cases emergence implies the presence of a subject, at least a witness taking account of the apparition of an object (the emerging rock is a rock visible to a possible observer, the rock immerged in a medium remains alien to the normal observer), an agent participating and personnaly involved in the development of the phenomenon. So is the reader. From the reception point of view, reading can be described as the emergence of meaning. Eachreading is a new case of emergence, an event in itself, a novel experience the subject goes through. Elements of sense are predisposed in the text, but the message remains virtual until a receptor construes a signification in it. Meaning can be defined as a cognitive or emotional response to a stimulus (a sign, a text) that makes the subject know something, a percept which is, grounded in the stimulus, arising from the stimulus, but transcending the stimulus.
Extensive theoretical debate on what happens when a meaning emerges from a text is associated with the various concepts of figure-ground separation in 20th century psychology of, foregrounding, effect (aktualisace, translated into German as Aktualisierungeffekt and into French as effet de mise en évidence or émergence au premier plan) described by the Prague Linguistic school or defamiliarization inherited from the Russian Formalists, of metastability as undetermined, variable reversible perception. Psychologists have verified that the brain sorts out information received from the eyes into fore- and background elements called figure and ground (cf. French fond, arrière-plan), the mind concentrates on prominent aspects of the message in order to figure out some coherent meaning at the expense of less important ones. The emergence of meaning is the process by which heterogeneous elements shape into a coherence. This cognitive experience is always a unique event that will never repeated in exactly the same figure. A hierarchy of elements aggregating into a coherence appears as some of them come to the foreground. The reader pays little attention to what he / she perceive as «ground» (fond), focusing his interest for what stands out as «figure».
Of course this foregrounding is induced by the layout of elements pre-disposed by the author in order to achieve what was termed a defamiliarization effect by the Formalists. The assumption is that «poetic language consists in the maximum of foregrounding of the utterance» according to Jan Mukařovský. although it could be argued that too much foregrounding prevents emergence as it determines interpretation for lack of ambiguity, just the same as too little foregrounding remains meaningless for lack of coherence. One could just as well say that "poetic language consists in the maximum of emergence in the utterance" adding «through artful foregrounding». The greatest artists are those who achieve the maximum of emergence through the minimum of foregrounding. A fair example of this principle would be impressionist theater; Max Reinhardt relies more on "natural communication" and understatement than on artistic devices in a process akin to Bertolt Brecht's Verfremdungselfekt when the spectator is "distanced" from the action to favour the emergence of a critical attitude. Under Reinhart direction, a character does not express what he feels, deeply; the more emotions remain contained behind the surface, the more powerfully they may emerge to the consciousness of the spectator.
Foregrounding is achieved at the expense of what may be termed backgrounding: other elements recede as not to stand out and be noticed temporarily. The figure builds on outstanding elements, but it is continuously disrupted by the emergence of background elements coming into view and assuming unprecedented power in the text. Thanks to them, the text remains a dynamic process in continuing emergence until it comes to a halt when it achieves full coherence. When reading, for instance, a novel, the reader does not pay equal attention to all elements of the narrative, concentrating on those that emerge to the foreground of his consciousness. He would make different figure-ground distinctions on successive readings. Other readers in a different time and space would not construe the same figure.
The locus of this process is the subject; this process is not determined, as it can assume different, even opposite values. The best known examples of the experiments are Edgar Rubin's picture than can be seen either as a vase or urn, or as two human faces turned toward one another, and Wittgenstein's duck- or rabbit figure, depending on the emergence of one part as figure over the other one as ground. Variable perception, or metastability, however rests on the assumption of some organic unity. Joseph Frank (The Widening Gyre, Rutgers, 1963) describes the construction of spatial forms or the retrospective perception by the reader of a structure that has been gradually revealed in the reading process.
Although the emergence of meaning is not a determined process, some antece
dents precondition it. There may be some innate predispositions in figure-ground distinctions which need not to be the same in all individuals. As a cognitive phenomenon emerging meaning is conditioned by the mental state of each language user. Among the most powerful factors, the subject's motivation, his or her experience, the cultural environment, or unconscious make different perceptions possible.
2. Intertextuality: the emergence of themes, myths (or super-meaning)
Comparison of separate texts makes the emergence of a meaning not included entirely in any one possible. The constitution of a corpus of related texts builds a signifying process beyond the scope of each individual work.
According to Pierre Brunel's loi d'émergence (law of emergence), the critic devises the presence of myths, motifs, cultural allusions in a text. Without his interpretative action, they would never surface and remain latent until someone else chances to point them out and bring them to emergence.
This interpretative process remains open-ended as the emerging phenomenon has unlimited premises contrary to the determined consequence of a limite cause. Emergence is both an etiology and an eschatology when man imagine that the world he lives in once emerged through a big bang from a primitive chaos, an original tohu-bohu. If we define emergence as meaning added, meaning added to so far sterile or latent elements.
Geist / Esprit
Epiphanie / Parole
Polysemic categories of texts are defined by their special aptitude at emergence. Myth is paramount for its potentiality at endless reconfiguration. Each time it is told, a new meaning emerges which is not limited by the established tradition, its narrative elements, nor its antecedent variations. Each time it is told, a new and irreducible meaning emerges. The propriety of myth, an essential component of mythicity («what makes a myth myth»), could be defined as its capacity at emergence, its aptitude at provoking a cognitive experience beyond the realm of reasoning, when total in a given textual environment. Associated with, or included in other texts, the mythic narrative, the mythical allusion manifests a truth which can not be apprehended otherwise. The emergence of myth in a text to symbolic meaning, as this emergent meaning transcends the elements assembled in the discourse.
Denis de Rougemont in
Collective propriety of autodefinition
IV. The history of emergences
History, and literary or cultural history in particular, can be viewed as a perpetual transformation of a situation (state, configuration, landscape, horizon, épistémè, problématique, etc.) into another one. The idea of emergence is taking sides in the debates arising from this conception of the world: is there permanence in this world of perpetual instability? Are these transformations ordained to an end? Are there rules governing these transformations? (v. Archéologie du savoir).
Admittedly, literary history is not a strictly determined process; if it were, we should be able to tell in detail which particular work of art would result from the present configuration. The proper of a work of art is to be a unique creation, a new arrangement of material. Emergence, not causality, is therefore the principle on which literary history develops, and it is also the principle on which its description, its interpretation, its explanation rely.
1. The emergence of forms, genres, discourses
The history of ideas, the history of literature, the history of art are made of permanent or successive emergences of forms, codes, genres, the emergence of new discourses. Certain conditions make these hatchings possible or facilitate them, but they are not per se their causes, nor their requisites. A few individual thinkers or artists are among the most powerful agents of emergence. Roland Barthes call logothètes those personalities who bring new languages into operation as Ignatius de Loyola or the Marquis de Sade. The term logothete is coined after monothete «legislator»; the foundation of a new discourse requires four operations according to Roland Barthes: isolate, articulate, order (ordonner) and dramatize (theâtraliser), that is to stage the language itself. V. Sade, p. 10-12.
Facilitators of emergence (facilitateurs d'émergence) are all kinds of innovators (novateurs) or catalysts. The work of outstanding artists, poets, thinkers, critics, theoreticians is epoch-making by to the impact it bears on other productions. One thing is to experiment a new form as a soon forgotten hapax, another one is to set a trend, to produce a model, to inaugurate a new esthetics. The emergent work established a new intertextuality with other creations. This network of inter- relations (source, influence, imitation, adaptation) creates a new literary paradigm determining an emergent category of productions; the latter is characterized in various degrees by its innovation in form, theme, poetic language, ideology, cosmic vision.
From New Criticism onwards, the text increasingly appears undetermined, as long as it is open to interpretation. If it were not, it would not be literary: indeterminacy becomes a feature of literariness. Traditional explication de texte on the contrary relies on a certain degree of determinacy as it aims at an objective perception and interpretation reducing the possibility of difference, the meaning of a text being circumscribed in its forms and elements.
Les genres ont aussi leur émergence; leur développement est marqué diversement au sein des systèmes littéraires par une combinaison d'apparitions: nouvelles formes de discours, nouvelles thématiques, nouvelles tonalités, nouvelles non point parce qu'elles n'existent pas auparavant, mais parce qu'elles se sont nouvellement combinées pour constituer progressivement un type de textes identifiable et reconnaissable. Dans l'émergence du roman moderne, par exemple, les antécédents narratifs finissent par se cristalliser dans une configuration qu'aujourd'hui on (re)connaît sous l'appellation du roman. Sans remonter à l'épopée antique ni même aux chansons du Moyen-Age, on peut voir comment à partir de Chrétien de Troyes l'histoire se centre sur le destin individuel quand elle relate les aventures d'un jeune chevalier découvrant l'amour, le monde et lui-même. On peut suivre le fil de ce nouveau lien qui se noue entre la notion de héros et le roman dans le Bildungsroman, récit d'éducation et de formation, dans le roman d'aventures évidemment, dans le roman picaresque même, souvent dans la science-fiction, jusque dans le roman initiatique.
En même temps, le genre en émergence se délimite un registre où cette thématique se développera: aventure, amour et merveilleux à la fin du XIVe siècle; le roman moderne évoluera après le Meliador de Froissart, peut-être le dernier représentant du modèle établi par Chrétien, en se séparant d'abord du merveilleux des romans pseudo-arthuriens du début du XIIIe siècle qualifiés de réalistes jusqu'au roman naturaliste du XIXe siècle en spécialisant l'amour dans des sous-genres romanesques, du roman sentimental au roman rose, il garde cependant comme caractéristique qui le rattache à la tradition épique, l'aventure, c'est-à-dire l'action d'un héros en mouvement.
La forme elle-même se cherche dans l'ajustement de la thématique et de la tonalité.
Le Conte du Graal de Chrétien de Troyes est encore en vers octosyllabes; mais des imitateurs nous donnent bientôt les premiers grands romans en prose, (le Lancelot-Graal). On voit plus tard les chants devenir des parties et des chapitres jusqu'à l'organisation de la forme en livre de quelques centaines de pages donnant à lire un récit de fiction qu'on appelle aujourd'hui un roman.
The emergence of medias
On could describe the emergence of the cyberculture, of virtual reality, of hypertextual as the emergence of emergence. New technologies of information and communication do not rely on the unity of coherence, rather programming the emergence of different possibilities.
The emergence of literatures
See article «LITTÉRATURE EMERGENTE»
Université de Limoges
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