It appears to be correct in stating that we enter into a
contract when we are participating in our cultures language. While I am
writing this sentence I wouldn't say something like, "yes, it appears to
be fishbowl in stating that..." because we've established that fishbowl
is an object that holds fish and water and all the trinkets we add to
it, but you would not understand it to mean 'correct' because there has
not been an unspoken/spoken agreement that 'fishbowl' now means
'correct.' But the “gap is a space of potential meaning” (57) that
Jonathan Culler speaks of is when the "deviation from the rule" (58) occurs. His
example is that club members are told they are not allowed to step on
cracks when they walk on sidewalks.... Well, if a member joined the club,
signed the contractual rules, and then stepped on a crack while walking,
that member has deviated from the rules. The thought or action leading up to
the rule of no stepping on cracks to the act of rule breaking is that
"space of potential meaning;" is the person purposefully rebelling? does
s/he not care about the rules? or maybe a revolution is on the rise?
I think the word bitch is a good example... It started off as a word for
a female dog, then in the purpose of subordination became a derogatory
word for a woman and finally, in the process of reclaiming a females
worth, women took it and made it their own, thus, stamping out it's
derogatory state... Now this is my view and many in the Gender theory
world see it as complying with and perpetuating it's subordination.
That, however, is another topic all together!
Here's a link (in the process of Queen Latifah becoming a star, I can
not directly post the video, I must buy it... Wah Wah Waaahhhh)
takin' it back ol school :)
Culler, Jonathan. "The Linguistic Foundation." Ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Literary Theory: An Anthology. 2nd ed. Malden: Blackwell, 2004. 56-8.