Signs and Society Workshop

Signs and Society

This research group at UCSD represents a convergence that is happening across the humanities, social sciences and in several important instances the natural sciences, where scholars have recognized that a more holistic and also critical mode of inquiry may be advanced through study of the social action of signs, broadly defined.   By signs, we mean virtually anything that can stand in relation to something else (capturing a quality of it, gesturing to it, or standing for it) so as to generate an interpretation or communicate a quality of meaning or significance.

By social action, we mean that signs, including human subjects or aspects of them, in their purpose or intention come to be interpreted by or within subsequent sign relations.  The main implication of this inherently dynamic and interactive approach is that that social sign action is: 1) continuous – potentially infinite – across domains that we often separate, usually by a disciplinary division of labor; and 2) capable of both radically changing as well as reproducing enduring tendencies or habits at any geo-historical scale.

Our scholars in Anthropology, Literature, and Communication include David Pedersen, Amelia Glaser, Joseph Hankins, Morana Alac, Michael Berman, and Jordan Haug.

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For more information, contact David Pedersen at