Semiotics in Big Data Time

Notwithstanding the utopians from Arisbe to Tartu, life is a semiotic war zone. Broadcasting vital biological information “to whom it may concern” or selectively targeting the recipient(s) of socially relevant messages are adaptive moves which […]


Seriously semiotic pragmatics in practice

The development of linguistic pragmatics from the 1960’s onwards may be interpreted, in a way, as a ‘glottocentric’ move away from its parental home, the science of signs or semiotics. In principle, a focus on […]


Occupy Semiotics

The production of knowledge should not be confused with the production of discourse. Contemporary semiotics unfortunately tends to be a set of text-producing algorithms which run on their own steam like mad machines with little concern for empirical constraints.

Today’s students of semiotics are confronted by a grand multi-stream narrative which articulates a catalogue of categories which portends to describe the whole of natural and cultural processes. These axiomatic propositions are marketed as a doctrine grounded on self-evident epistemological truths which are irrefutable, that is, unfalsifiable. Like any set of very general categories it is bound to apply to a vast sample of objects. But does it explain anything? Does it allow us to predict and to control the phenomena which initially prompted this early quest for fundamental knowledge? […]


A Michael (M.A.K.) Halliday Special

This issue of SemiotiX, the first to which I am contributing in my capacity as Associate Editor, focuses on the contribution to semiotics by the Australian linguistic M.A.K.  Halliday.   Three guest scholars provide tasters of […]


I ♥ Face Book

“Waste of time”, “intrusive”, “vain”, these are the words I hear from colleagues who swear they will never succumb to the Face Book craze. I beg to differ. It is true that endless successions of […]

Guest column

Space, Technology, and Attention Structures

‘There’s no there there,’ Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, California. What she meant, of course, was that she could find nothing in Oakland that made it different from anywhere else, nothing that caught her […]


The Swiss Center for Affective Sciences

Emotion has long been considered a central aspect of human functioning but its importance as a research subject has only recently been recognized by the scientific community. The modern study of emotion can be said […]


Semiotics and Society

As the discipline which studies signs and communication, semiotics is mainly concerned with social behavior. However, the models and theories which have been proposed so far generally remain at a high level of abstraction and […]