Context

Meanings sit in contexts, and contexts become part of meanings. Context informs meaning. The relation of meaning to context varies according to the dynamics of its materialization in likeness (resemblance), directedness (pointing), and abstraction (symbolism). Context is determined in part by kinds of participation in meaning, according the uses to which meanings are put in acts of representation, communication or interpretation. Context can be specified as position: time and place. Context supplies media of particular kinds, the means of the materialization of meaning, affording shape to meaning in speech, sound, body, object, space, image and text. Meanings are associated by the ways in which they are placed near other meanings, be that contiguity and its effects of juxtaposition and seriality, or nesting, where one meaning fits inside another and meaning is a matter of scale. Meanings can also be associated by what we call expressive causality, where region, ecosystem, social structure, culture or era find expression in a particular meaning. Then, within forms of meaning and their corresponding media, there are genres, or kinds of meaning where conventionally patterned meaning forms are explicable in terms of their peculiar meaning functions.