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Power in society, economy, and mentality: Towards a semiotic theory of power

Siefkes, Martin

It is a well-known fact that power is closely connected with signs, but usually this connection is thought to be “after the fact”: signs representing a power whose origin could be understood in non-semiotic terms. In this paper, a different view is introduced: power is an inherently semiotic phenomenon, which can be analyzed with concepts of cultural semiotics. To reach this aim, the three areas of culture defined in Roland Posner's theory of cultural semiotics are taken as basis for definitions of three types of power: power of position, power of disposition, and power of interpretation. These main types of power are delimitated from each other, further differentiated and carefully examined in their semiotic as well as sociological dimensions. The conclusion is reached that the full range of power phenomena can be analyzed with the help of cultural semiotics.
Published in: Semiotica, 10.1515/semi.2010.042, De Gruyter
  • Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.