Law in signification processes

Jan M. Broekman, Larry Catá Backer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The purpose of this book is not to produce a (hitherto unwritten) history of semiotics in the 20th century, nor to describe the applicability of semiotics in law and legal discourse. The text focuses on a deeper problem. Semiotics, daughter of linguistics at the end of the 19th century, still suffers from predominantly static featuresthose static properties do thoroughly infect law in its exegesis, interpretation, fact-finding, judgment, for short: its mechanistic jurisprudential dimensions. How can legal semiotics be set free from those static properties, when lawyers feel safe with them? The proper location of the question is in the heart of signification processes. With this in mind, one reads Peirce, who distinguished between ˜universes and ˜the universe; one reads Welby who stated 1906: if we are individual in any sense we are merely items; one reads the Russian structural linguist Saumjan who distinguished surface structures of language from deep structures, and one reads that idea with Greimas as well as Kristeva. They are altogether attempts to bring dynamics in semiotics and signification/meaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSigns in Law - A Source Book
Subtitle of host publicationThe Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319098371
ISBN (Print)9783319098364
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Psychology


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