Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2214-9953
  • E-ISSN: 2214-9961
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This paper investigates the semiotic landscape of one of the significant spaces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Al-Manṭiqa al-Tarikhiyya in Jeddah (Historic District/Historic Jeddah). It intends to achieve two key objectives: first, to situate al-Manṭiqa al-Tarikhiyya in wider historical contexts by inspecting its conditions of (re)constitution across various temporal and spatial orders of social life. Our observation here is that although linguistic signs such as al-Balad (city center), Jeddah al-Qadema (Old Jeddah), and al-Manṭiqa al-Tarikhiyya (Historic District) are referentially synonymous, sociolinguistically they are products of more or less different patterns of mobility, conviviality, and structures of power relations. Since the semiotic landscape of al-Manṭiqa al-Tarikhiyya is caught up in a relation of dominance between sedimented and co-existing discursive regimes of regulation of social life, the space is fundamentally multilayered and complex. The second objective is to examine the social circumstances, discursive processes and strategies (rites of institution) designed to produce the recent entextualization of the “same” space as a heritage landscape (al-Manṭiqa al-Tarikhiyya). Our contention here is that these situated actions do not “preserve” a naturally given “historic space” as such but rather they “reinvent” a “shared memory” through social struggle and contextually anchored (re)interpretation. Thus the sense of “originality” implied by the concept of “historic/heritage” is an emergent product of social interaction and ongoing discursive struggles by a network of differentially positioned social actors.


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