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By Anna Maria Lorusso (auth.)

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Extra info for Cultural Semiotics: For a Cultural Perspective in Semiotics

Sample text

We, however, believe that conflating these two names is misleading for a number of reasons. First of all, we have already shown that Roland The Structuralist Perspective ● 43 Barthes’s thought has a strongly structural vocation that, while gradually gaining f lexibility (shifting from a “strong” structuralism into the concept of “structural activity”) never actually loses the belief that sociality is organized through codes, regular patterns, systems of alreadysaid that constitute the object of semiotics and the reason for its critical vocation.

Each discourse builds its own oppositional axes. Just to give an example, let us consider Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. As George Lakoff (2009) pointed out, the opposition axis on which the then-future president based his speeches was not “liberal values vs. conservative values” (the opposition presumed by common sense), but rather “liberal values vs. non-American values” (a strategic opposition, constructed by Obama’s discourse to ensure that all the American citizens identify with the liberal party), thus neutralizing any chance for opposition.

Each text can be understood as a fragment of ideology and can be seen as being in close communication with culture, knowledge, and history. Society and its languages (culture, in other words) live on discursive mediations and signs that circulate at progressive levels of inclusion, and the semiologist’s work consists in clarifying this dependency network, in exposing the connections between the different texts and the different languages of society. And so we have come to the third point on our list.

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