Communication Games is a new and radical interpretation of the relationship
between culture and communication. It explores the idea that culture and
communication studies should be seen predominantly in relation to struggles
and conflicts within the social arena. It criticizes the conventional
heritage of the social sciences and humanities. Culture and communication
are conceived not merely as means of integrating social actors, but as
semiotic ways of providing fitness indicators that allow for the resolution
of competition between individuals.
From the perspective of Peircean semiotics and the Darwinian understanding
of life processes, Communication Games redefines culture in terms of
Darwin’s notion of sexual selection. Moving on from the realization that
sexual selection creates individual organisms with conflicting interests,
Communication Games emphasizes the contribution of game theory to semiotics
and communication studies.
The book demonstrates how cooperation and shared conventions eventually
emerge, and how conflicts are resolved through the display of costly and
inflated signs. It is from these inflated signs and the escalation of
excessive messages that cultures gain a certain degree of stability.
Communication Games proposes a new way of understanding culture,
communication, and semiotic exchange in terms of game theory.
"Over the past twenty years the insights of semiotics have inspired and
guided research across the whole spectrum of the humanities - from
anthropology to queer theory, from literary history to film studies, from
philosophy to art history. Yet, with time the imbalances and fault lines
within the original core of semiotic theory have also emerged, or half
emerged. Neiva names and defines a set of problems that semiotics must
finally resolve - before the whole engine runs out of steam. A daring,
inventive, passionately original book, this is essential reading for
everyone concerned with culture, signs, meanings, subjects."
"Blending social history with evolutionary biology, Eduardo Neiva shows how
sexual selection impacts cultural practice through complex communicative
exchange. Debunking conventional explanations of cultural development, the
author employs a massive body of evidence ranging from the bloody
battle-grounds of ancient conflict to the technologically-driven terrain of
contemporary life to fashion an intriguing argument."
-James Lull, San Jose State University
Of interest to: Libraries and Researchers in the Fields of Semiotics,
Communication, and Culture
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