Social semiotics and social representations
chapterposted on 27.04.2015, 10:19 by Giuseppe A. Veltri
The role of multiple levels of signification is present in many theories from different psychological traditions, from psychoanalysis to cognitive psychology. It also plays a crucial role in Social Representation Theory, despite not being fully integrated with the rest of this theory. This article introduces the notions of denotative and connotative meanings to social representations theory to enrich and develop the theoretical discussion of the processes of anchoring and objectification. The conceptual trajectory of denotation and connotation in semiotics is synthesized, and includes elements of the work of Hjelmslev, Peirce, Barthes, Greimas and Eco. The two concepts are applied so as to clarify the social signification processes among social groups and the recursive semiosis that takes place in conflicts among them. The semiotic interpretations of ‘anchoring’ and ‘objectification’ offer a more communication-oriented account of the genesis of social representations than was present in Moscovici’s original work. The final part of the paper considers the methodological and theoretical implications of such a re-definition, and proposes future lines of development.