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Social Semiotics for a Complex World: Analysing Language and Social Meaning

ISBN: 978-0-7456-9620-1
256 pages
November 2016, Polity
Social Semiotics for a Complex World: Analysing Language and Social Meaning (0745696201) cover image


Social semiotics reveals language s social meaning its structures, processes, conditions and effects in all social contexts, across all media and modes of discourse. This important new book uses social semiotics as a one-stop shop to analyse language and social meaning, enhancing linguistics with a sociological imagination.

Social Semiotics for a Complex World develops ideas, frameworks and strategies for better understanding key problems and issues involving language and social action in today s hyper-complex world driven by globalization and new media. Its semiotic basis incorporates insights from various schools of linguistics (such as cognitive linguistics, critical discourse analysis and sociolinguistics) as well as from sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and literary studies. It employs a multi-modal perspective to follow meaning across all modes of language and media, and a multi-scalar approach that ranges between databases and one-word slogans, the local and global, with examples from English, Chinese and Spanish.

Social semiotics analyses twists and turns of meanings big and small in complex contexts. This book uses semiotic principles to build a powerful, flexible analytic toolkit which will be invaluable for students across the humanities and social sciences.

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Table of Contents


PART I: Principles and Practices
Chapter 1: Key Concepts
Chapter 2: Some Notes on Method

PART II: From Linguistics to Semiotics
Chapter 3: Words
Chapter 4: Grammar
Chapter 5: Reading and Meaning

PART III: Meaning and Society
Chapter 6: The Semiotics of Reality
Chapter 7: Ideology and Social Meaning
Chapter 8: Multiscalar Analysis
Chapter 9: Conclusions
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Author Information

Bob Hodge is Research Professor in the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney.
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"Few scholars are as qualified as Bob Hodge to reassess, in yet another sweeping and erudite synthesis, what social semiotics can mean in a world in which communication is changing fast and gaining more and more power and influence in the process. Hodge s eclectic approach brings out the best of recent decades of work in a truly innovative and refreshing text."
Jan M. E. Blommaert, Tilburg University

"This is a thoughtful, original and stimulating account of social semiotics as a uniquely powerful and inclusive framework for analysing the essential contribution of language and meaning in effective action: they are 'part of every problem and every attempted solution.' The book provides valuable insights into how this works in complex, digital and multimodal contemporary social practices."
Norman Fairclough Lancaster University
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