Abstract: The goal of this paper is to describe a new perspective for semiotic studies. Thanks to the theoretical and interpretative guidelines of that general cognitive paradigm called today systemic (or relational, or complex) thinking, and thanks also to the existence of semiotic theories with a systemic approach, as Lotman’s semiotics of culture, we can try to rework and reorganize the main explanatory notions of contemporary semiotics, and specially the notions of knowledge, meaning, communication, text and culture.
Key words: systemic semiotics, knowledge, meaning, communication, text, culture.
There is no single semiotics, but an archipelago or constellation of studies with different trends, an interdisciplinary field integrated by paradigms that use different methodologies, renew different traditions, prefer different explanatory notions and are directed to different, more or less extensive and articulated, research domains. This is the principal reason why in semiotics there is a proliferation of names and designations, a proliferation that we can recognize also in the name of the discipline (semiotics or semiology? Maybe semeiotics?) and that leads to the employment of different morphosyntactic resources: adjectival constructions (structural, interpretative, cognitive, existential semiotics, etc.), constructions with prefixes (socio-semiotics, zoo-semiotics, bio-semiotics, etc.) and prepositional constructions (semiotics of literature, theater, sports, etc.).
There is, rather, a general “mission” that justifies the existence of the semiotics as a scientific discipline: the study of meaning and communicative processes. But even this “mission” is not free of oscillations and ambiguities. Some semiotics focus mainly on the processes of meaning and other mainly on the communication, but anyway the notions of “meaning” and “communication” (as all other technical notions: “sign”, “code”, “semiosis”, “structure”, “text”, “discourse”, “culture”, etc.) have no single definition valid for every specialist. Of course, this big fragmentation and variety of the “semiotic landscape” creates some disciplinary and institutional problems (what does semiotics do?, what are its goals and methods?, what are its limits?), but on the other hand it gives our discipline a remarkable theoretical ductility and explanatory vivacity.