Articulating Spaces: Inscribing Spaces and (Im)mobilities in an Israeli Commemorative Visitor Book

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discourse, space, writing, tourism, material culture, national ideology, commemoration

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This article examines and conceptualizes discourse and space as these are ideologically enmeshed in and through visitors’ entries, which are inscribed in a highly symbolic, commemorative visitor book. Building on recent theorizing in discourse and space-related fields, a re-materialization and a re-spatialization of discourse and discursive practices (inscribing, reading, etc.) is illuminated. Texts and discourse are rendered not as an “abstract sign system”, but as occupying real life spaces, materials, and embodied practices. The article examines co-existing and overlapping modalities, through which spaces are discursively indexed, occupied, imagined and excluded, discussing notions of projected spaces and mobilities, authentic(ating) spaces, and embodied practices. Critical appreciations help shed light on the politically charged site of inscription under examination: a commemorative visitor book located in an Israeli war commemoration site in East Jerusalem. The critical-semiotic and multimodal analysis of visitors’ entries reveals how spaces (of different scales), (im)mobilities and trajectories converge meaningfully on the surfaces of the visitor book. This convergence suggests that the book's inscribing spaces function as a nexus of meaningful action. The study employs methods and approaches that include and are inspired by ethnographic sensitivities, multimodality, critical discourse analysis and mobility studies.

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Social Semiotics, v. 21, issue 2, p. 155-173