Fish, phone cards and semiotic assemblages in two Bangladeshi shops in Sydney and Tokyo

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Social Semiotics, 2017, 27 (4), pp. 434 - 450
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. By focusing on assembling artefacts (particularly, fish, phones and phone cards)–objects that mediate across geographies, environments, culinary traditions and histories–in two Bangladeshi-run stores in Sydney and Tokyo, we argue in this paper that these objects need to be taken very seriously as part of the action. It is clear that assembling artefacts such as fish draw the attention of customers to the freezers where they are stored, and to discussions of bones, taste, size and “cleanliness.” Central to our study is the way objects such as fish and phone cards come together as part of semiotic assemblages of material and semiotic resources as customers, goods and languages assemble and disassemble at particular moments. This has implications for how we understand the role of objects in social semiotics as part of a critical sociolinguistics of diversity.
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