CFP: GRAMMA Journal of Theory and Criticism


Journal of Theory and Criticism

Semiotics as a Theory of Culture:
Deciphering the Meanings of Cultural Texts
Issue number 20, 2012

Semiotics, defined by Ferdinand de Saussure in the early years of the 20th century as the study of how sign systems function in the life of society, has become such an integral part of cultural theory that it is easy to forget the revolution which it made  possible in our understanding of culture. It was semiotics that first allowed us to treat pictorial and cinematic documents as ‘texts’, that provided a method of analysis for systems of objects and patterns of behaviour and conduct, that rejected the boundaries between high and low culture and studied the myriad manifestations of everyday life on the same level as traditional cultural artifacts.

Today, in the environment created by the explosive growth of information technology and the culture industry, it is time for a reassessment of what this theory and methodology can and cannot do. What can it contribute to our understanding and interpretation of culture? How has it changed our perception of cultural objects and
practices? How does a semiotic awareness contribute to a critical perspective on culture and society? What, if any, are the limits of semiotic analysis?

For the 2012 volume of Gramma on semiotics as a theory of culture, we invite papers on all aspects of semiotics, focusing on analysis informed by a reflexive theoretical and methodological awareness. Papers need not be limited to classical semiotics but can use poststructuralist, postmodern and other hermeneutic approaches.

Possible areas of analysis include:
 Theories of culture and methodologies of cultural analysis
 Signs and sign systems
 Texts, objects, rituals, institutions
 Communication and silence
 Convention and rebellion, the norm and the monstrous
 The body as text: self-presentation, gender identity, disciplines of the body

Papers should not exceed the length of 7,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography) and should be double-spaced. They should adhere to the latest MLA style of documentation and should be submitted electronically in the form of a Word document to the editors of the issue, Karin Boklund-Lagopoulou and
Alexandros Ph. Lagopoulos, at:


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