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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 33, Issue 3/4, 2017

Cassirer on Communicology

Rolf-Dieter Hepp
Pages 333-356
DOI: 10.5840/ajs20181932

Epistemological and Symbolic Aspects of Sociological Thinking

Considering different aspects of society such as identity, entity, and totality seems to be an integral object of social science research which offers specific configurations of and for symbols and signs. They are tools for decoding and deciphering the social quadratic structure of Self—Other, combined with, Similarity—Difference. If these semiotic comparisons are based on communicated Language, particularly when examined from the point of view of a symbolic pervasion and permeation of power, then we can see that normal thought patterns (hexis) loose their natural coherence in practice (habitus). As Jaques Lacan points out by referring to the unconscious, first of all Language (langue) has to assure itself of its object (sign/parole) in order to be able to develop its analytic pattern (symbol/discours). In this communicative context taking the term field as an example, Bourdieu shows how socially accepted terms are applied in an uncontrolled way (illusio) without being examined thoroughly (as contingent and precarious indexical referents), thus gaining system access (rhetoric as practical logic) to the production of social knowledge (ideology) in a given culture.

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