Semiotic management of communicative situations: New people(s) and old methods

Anti Randviir

Abstract


How to explain the existence of totalitarian communities in the light of hegemonic ideologies that have been oftentimes, and also quite recently, condemned (Nazism, communism, Stalinism, religious radicalism)? How, in the globalizing world, do information islands emerge where people live in isolated semiotic realities? How is it possible to manipulate the masses, proceeding from denounced reasoning and policies? Why can people be subject to regimes typologically similar to those that destroyed their physical and semiotic past? These are issues the article approaches, trying to see logic in the management of semiotic realities through communicative situations, specifically as to how different types of objects in the latter are constructed. Metaneeds used in the construction of semiotic realities indicate the value-based structure of macrosignifieds as elementary units in culture cores. The use of macrosignifieds and skilful manipulation with metaneeds make it possible to create novel semiotic species in closed sociocultural systems that are based on unilateral semiotization of the surroundings and function by autocommunicative feedback loops. The examples given are derived from one of the most elaborate experiments in the creation of New Man and closed semiotic realities – from the territory of the former Soviet Union and the contemporary Putinized Russia.

Keywords


sociosemiotics; communicative situation; totalitarianism; metaneeds; community creation; insularization; social objects; cultural objects; physical objects; unilateral communication; naming and reference; Soviet Man; Bronze Night; identity discourse

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2014.42.1.03





SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia