In the past two decades there has been considerable interest in the ways in
which subjects are positioned in discursive practice. This interest has
entailed a focus on the role of language and discourse in the processes in
and through which subjects are constituted in discourse. However, questions
of agency and how it relates to consciousness have received less attention.
This book explores the ways in which agency and consciousness are created
through transactions between self and other. The book argues that it is
necessary to regard body-brain interactions in the context of the social
and discursive practices which act upon human bodies. These issues of
agency and individuation are explored in relation to infant semiosis, as
well as in relation to children's symbolic play. Thibault looks at the
importance of the self-referential moral conscience in relation to the
interpersonal dimension of all acts of meaning-making. This conscience is
also connected to the development of a self-referential viewpoint which the
book argues is connected to the ecosocial semiotic systems of thinking
about consciousness as a complex system operating on many different levels.
The author discusses and evaluates the work of linguists, psychologists,
biologists, semioticians, and sociologists such as Basil Bernstein, Mikhail
Bakhtin, J. J. Gibson, M. A. K. Halliday, Walter Kauffman, Lakoff &
Johnson, Jay Lemke, Jean Piaget and Stanley Salthe, to develop a new theory
of agency and consciousness.