Reimagining semiotics in communication

Cobley, Paul ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Reimagining semiotics in communication. In: Reimagining Communication: Meaning. Filimowicz, Michael and Tzankova, Veronika, eds. Routledge, pp. 1-26. ISBN 9781138542860, pbk-ISBN 9781138542884, e-ISBN 9781351007924. [Book Section] (doi:10.4324/9781351007924-1)

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Semiotics, in - or as an approach to - communication studies has had mixed fortunes. On the one hand, it has been supposedly superseded by interpretational and more reader-centred research. On the other hand, it has lingered on as a perspective in which signs and texts have been taken as empirical phenomena that demand to be studied regardless, as well as an outlook that comprises nonverbal as well as verbal signification. Yet, in both cases, the kind of semiotics envisaged by communication and media studies is often a throwback to a fashionable heyday when superficial understandings of semiotics were standard in heavily-used textbooks (Fiske 1982; Dyer 1982; Hartley 1982; etc.). The contribution on semiotics for the volume Reimagining Communication will review these traditional perspectives on semiotics localised in communication study but will mainly propose an emerging perspective for the field (Self 2013). In particular, this contribution will outline the ways in which semiotics is a steadfast anti-psychologism characterized by its concern with the suprasubjectivity of the sign relation. It will be shown that this nevertheless comprises cognizance and incorporation of matters central to the communication process: interpretation and the vagaries of context. It will suggest that contemporary semiotics, with its perspective on communication across species and in machines, heralds new vistas for communication study beyond the realms of anthropocentrism.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 27674
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Reimagining Communication: Meaning on May 18, 2020, available online:
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Depositing User: Paul Cobley
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 14:30
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:26

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