New book: Sein und Schein – Explorations in Existential Semiotics by Eero Tarasti


Eero Tarasti
Explorations in Existential Semiotics
[Being and Appearance: Explorations in Existential Semiotics]

Existential semiotics is a new paradigm in the studies of signs, signification and communication. This book develops its theory further starting from the continental philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Jaspers, Heidegger, Arendt, Sartre) on one
hand, yet remaining also faithful to the tradition of the European semiotics, particularly the Paris school.

From the notions of being, doing and appearing the study applies them to crucial social problems of the contemporary world, and moreover to various so-called ‘lesser arts’ like performance andgastronomy. It also introduces some precursors of the approach. The book represents what can be called neosemiotics, the search for new theories and fields of the discipline.

Eero Tarasti, University of Helsinki, Finland.





Sein und Schein, flyer

Tartu Summer School of Semiotics – hosting the IX Conference of Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies


Tartu Summer School of Semiotics, August 17-20, 2015 – SEMIOTIC (UN-)PREDICTABILITY hosting the IX Conference of Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies

August 17-20, 2015


Call for Participants

The paradoxical co-presence of predictability and unpredictability is a fundamental aspect of the dynamics of the semiotic world. Abduction, habit, explosion, (artistic) modelling, code, interaction, meaning-making, signification, innovation, uncertainty, change, order and disorder, entropy, translation, interpretation – there are numerous concepts that reflect this tension in different kinds of semiotic systems and processes.

Predictability and unpredictability are processual notions that have been used for the description and analysis of different forms of creativity and freedom on both the psychological and the social level. They were also key concepts for Juri Lotman. He considered every act of communication and understanding as involving elements of unpredictability, and every dialogue as being not only about language use, but involving language creation as well. From the perspective of cultural dynamics, every revolution, but also every new fact or event within culture and society is an explosion – a tension between predictability and unpredictability. Underlying these conceptions is an understanding of predictability and unpredictability as it pertains to the different models we use for conceiving and changing reality: scientific as well as artistic. In order to sustain itself, every society needs both.

The conference will explore the functioning of semiotic mechanisms that mediate order and change in cultural, social, and biological systems from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. (Un-)predictability is also of utmost practical value in cognition – for simpler forms of life, for human everyday life, for scientific inquiry, and in practically oriented applications of semiotics.

We invite presentation and session proposals that investigate the processes and structures that facilitate predictability and unpredictability in meaning-making, their particular forms, mechanisms and functions, as well as the role, value and nature of (scientific) predictability in the object domain and disciplinary tasks of semiotics. Proposals that approach the issues of predictability and unpredictability from theoretical as well as applied perspectives are welcome.


Submission and deadlines

We invite 300-600 word proposals for

– Discussion panels and sessions by December 15, 2014

– Individual papers by February 16, 2015.

Individual papers can be related to a specific session to be announced in January or to the conference theme in general.

Decisions regarding acceptance will be made by April, 2015.

All proposals and questions should be sent to


New Book: Sémiotique du Fondamentalisme Religieux – Massimo Leone

Massimo Leone 2014 - Sémiotique du fondamentalisme religieux - Couverte_Page_1

Les médias parlent tout le temps de « fondamentalisme religieux » comme d’un élément essentiel de la scène
sociale, culturelle, politique, et même militaire contemporaine. Mais qu’est-ce que c’est, au juste, le fondamentalisme religieux ? Comment peut-on distinguer un message fondamentaliste ? D’où dérive-t-elle la force communicative par laquelle ce type de discours s’est répandu de façon globale, surtout à travers internet et les nouveaux social networks ?

Pour comprendre la nature profonde du fondamentalisme religieux, il faut étudier non seulement ce qu’il dit mais
également – et peut-être surtout – sa façon de dire, sa rhétorique, sa manière d’évoquer un imaginaire et d’y situer
le bien et le mal, les alliés et les ennemis, les fidèles et les infidèles.

C’est en analysant les stratégies de communication des fondamentalismes religieux, en outre, qu’on pourra comprendre que peut-être partagent-ils tous – malgré les différences de langue, confession, époque, milieu et
moyens d’expression – un « air de famille », une perspective particulière sur le sens du langage, du monde, de la
vie. C’est donc à la sémiotique, la science de la signification et de la communication, qu’on doit demander de
décrire de façon rigoureuse les formes persuasives du fondamentalisme contemporain.

Massimo LEONE est professeur de Sémiotique auprès de l’Université de Turin. Ancien élève de l’ENS, docteur en Sciences Religieuses auprès de l’École Pratique des Hautes Études – Sorbonne, il a été enseignant invité aux Universités de Berkeley, Melbourne, Toronto, Paris IV – Sorbonne, ENS-Lyon, Kyoto.

IASS/AIS Bureau (2014-2009)

IASS/AIS Bureau (2014-2019) elected in Sofia 2014.

Paul Cobley (United Kingdom)

Secretary general
Kristian Bankov (Bulgaria)

EUROPE: Anne Hénault (France)
AMERICAS: José Enrique Finol (Venezuela)
ASIAN: Kim Sung-do (Korea)
AFRICA: Mohamed Bernoussi (Morocco)
AUSTRALASIA: Susan Petrilli (Australia/Italia)

Vice-secretary general: Priscila Borges (Brazil)

Daina Teters (Latvia) Jie Zhang (China)

Vice- Treasurier
Stephanie Walsh-Matthews (Canada)

CFP: SPACTION – Spaces in action, actions in space. International Conference – University of Palermo, 14th – 16th, 2014

Call for papers


Spaces in action, actions in space

 International Conference

University of Palermo, November 14th, 15th, 16th, 2014


How do we define space? How do we define action? During this conference, rather than thinking of them separately, we would like to consider space and action jointly, starting with the ways in which they appear to limit or enhance one other. We ask ourselves and the participants the following questions: how are space and action expressed/structured in relation to one another? In what way is an action situated in a given space, thereby orienting it, and to what extent can a type of space contain, condition and develop an action? The idea is to combine the reflections derived from the spatial turn with the reflections of those who work specifically on the definition of agency. Participants are encouraged to allow the perspectives to interact freely, using the approach, format and tools that they deem appropriate. In addition to the contribution of anthropology (on space, daily life, language, etc.), we consider the analytical models deriving from linguistics, geography, cultural studies, textual semiotics and cultural semiotics to be indispensable. Both theoretical papers and case studies are welcome. By way of example, below is a list of potential research topics:


Space and image/imagination

Space and power/knowledge

Space and places/non-places

Space and languages

Space and landscape

Space and agency

Space and subjective positioning

Space and fieldwork

Space and inclusion/exclusion

Space and textualisation

Space and temporal/aspectual dimension



Keynote speaker:

Carlo Severi (E.H.E.S.S., Paris)



Department of Cultures and Societies

University of Palermo

Viale delle Scienze, 90128, Palermo, Italy


Proposal submission and information:

Matteo Meschiari (

Stefano Montes (


Practical Information:

Deadline for paper proposal submission: October 5th, 2014.

Proposal summary and title: 250-300 words.

Duration of paper presentation: 25 minutes.

Conference languages: Italian, French and English.

Participation in the conference is free of charge. Travel, lodging and meals will be at the participants’ expense.

The conference proceedings will be published.

Vice-Secretary General Report

Vice-Secretary General Report

From September 25 th 2009 to September 12th 2014
Priscila Borges

  1. The new website

I created the new website using WordPress, a web software that allows the creation of websites and blogs. The interface is user-friendly and the software is free, so it was not necessary to pay a webmaster to update the website. Since then, I have been posting all kinds of announcements on it.

The number of visitors in the IASS website has increased every year, as we can see in the following table:



June 18th, 2014 was the day with most visits. In this day, we had 241 visitors with 333 views.

During all this period, we had 136,671 views and only 158 comments. The low number of comments in face of the high number of views reveals that people have been using the IASS website to get information, but it is a one way communication.


The IASS webpage has 310 followers that receive updates every time I publish new content on the IASS blog.

Most of the posts are about Congresses and Call for Papers announcements. To this day, I have published a total of 344 posts. This means about 1,5 post per week.



Views by Country

The top five countries are United States, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom and France.



  1. Re-creation of the IASS visual identity

I designed a new logo based on the old one and the visual identity for the IASS.



  1. The Facebook account

The Facebook page was created in June 2014 and it has reached 418 likes until now. All the posts published in the IASS webpage are automatically published in the IASS Facebook page. I also share posts from other Associations or Journals on Semiotics.


  1. The PayPal account

I created a PayPal account to facilitate the payment of the IASS Membership fee, especially for members from countries outside Europe and US. In most cases, the international transfer bank fee would be even more expensive than the membership fee.

The PayPal account is related to the IASS bank account in Bari, in the name of Susan Petrilli. If a new treasurer is elected, not only the bank account must be closed or transferred to the new treasurer, but the PayPal account as well.

Today there are 1,049,03 EUR in the PayPal account that must be transferred to the IASS bank account in Bari, prior to closure.

We have spent 194,92 USD in May 2013 to the renewal of the domain ( registration and the web forwarding (the actual site is hosted in for 3 years, from 2013 to 2016.


  1. Minutes of Meetings in Nanjing, 2012

I have registered the Minutes of the IASS Board Meeting on 6 October, 2012, the Minutes of the IASS Executive Committee and of the General Assembly on 7 October, 2012.


  1. IASS Members List

There are two lists below. The first is a list of IASS members that paid the membership fee via PayPal. The second is a list of the ones that paid the membership fee in Nanjing in 2012. I only have the control of the members that paid using PayPal and the ones that paid in Nanjing. The money collected in Nanjing was given directly to the treasurer, Susan Petrilli.


36 members paid using PayPal.

8 members paid in Nanjing.



Minutes of the IASS Board Meeting

6 October, 2012.

7-50 pm – 9-25 pm, Conference Room, Building 700, Nanjing, China.

Attending: Eero Tarasti (President), José Enrique Finol (Vice-President), Jean Claude Mbarga (Vice-President), Youzheng Li (Vice-President), Jose Maria Paz Gago (Secretary General), Augusto Ponzio (guest), Susan Petrilli (Treasurer), Paul Cobley (Vice-President), John Deely (Vice-Treasurer), Gloria Withalm (Honorary Vice-President), Priscila Borges (Vice-Secretary-General), Marcia Schwartz (guest), Bankov Kristian (guest).

Meeting Record: Priscila Borges

At 7h50 pm, Eero Tarasti, the IASS president, began the meeting announcing the topics to be discussed:

1) To address some misunderstandings about the executive committee meetings;

2) The next IASS Congress and the Bulgarian proposal;

3) The executive committee new members;

4) The process of auditing;

5) To  commemorate  those members of the IASS  who  have passed away  since the last meeting.

The President announced that the Executive Committee meeting would take place on October, 7 at 7-30pm. Just after that the General Assembly would take place. The General Assembly would be open to all IASS members and only members could vote in the General Assembly. The President proposed that, instead of restricting the access to the General Assembly, we should open it  to future members. Then, the suggestion was to pass a list during the Plenary Session on the next day (the morning of 7 October, 2012) and ask those who are interested in becoming a member of IASS to put their names on it. They could pay the membership fee during the congress or later by bank transfer or on Paypal. There was no support for this proposal.

During the General Assembly we should announce the place of the next IASS congress.

Paul Cobley asked what the motivations to attend the General Assembly are. John Deely complemented asking what the motivations to be a member are. Your association gives nothing to our members. No journal, no cheaper price to assign a journal, no special fee to our own congress. Deely suggested that the members should receive a journal when they become a member.

The boarding discussed some ways to catch more members and agreed that the congress is a good place to get new members since people are motivated to get into semiotics. The boarding decided to put a registration table at Jinshilou Hotel where the Congress registration is. So, people could go there and become an IASS member. Moreover, one assistant gathered names and addresses in the meeting itself.

The word was given to Kristian Bankov, the repesentative of New Bulgarian University, to present the proposal of this University to host the next IASS Congress in 2014. Kristian presented the strategies of the University to promote the image of Semiotics and emphasized that semiotics is placed among the three most important disciplines, the development of which will provide an image for the academy identity of the New Bulgarian University. The New Bulgarian University wants to make the fee as low as possible Although Bulgaria is passing through a crisis (like all the countries in Europe), he guaranteed that the University can promote the congress. The congress organisers will also seek support from some foundations and private companies. He added that the prices in the country are lower than in other European countries and this would assist in attracting participants to go to the congress in Sofia.

The congress fee proposed was 120 Euros. Those that wish to present a paper at the congress will be compelled to join the IASS, whilst non-participating attendants may simply pay the congress registration alone. The preferred date to stage the congress at NBU would be 20-25 September, 2014. One theme suggested for the congress was ‘Innovation’. This theme, Kristian argued, might be interesting to private companies such as telecommunication companies from Bulgaria that could support the congress.

Susan Petrilli suggested the relation of innovation to science and politics. Augusto Ponzio agreed that politics is much related to the Bulgarian context.

Kristian warned that politics is often a problematic topic and it might pose difficulties when attempting to gain the support of some foundations and private companies. He suggested the theme might be ‘Innovation of Tradition’.

There were some discussion about the theme of the congress and the President suggested that might more profitably be continued by email, since there were other points to discuss in the meeting.

Kristian continued, suggesting important guests such as Umberto Eco, Julia Kristeva and Tzvetan Todorov. The congress organisers planned two plenary speakers per day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Each plenary speaker would have 45 minutes to present their paper. They also planned to use social media to organize and publicize the meeting. The first public announcement of the congress would be in the beginning of 2013. The congress organisers proposed to present the logo and visual identity of the congress and commence circulation of it in social media such as Facebook.

The President suggested that the first announcement should be made before Christmas 2012. The Vice-Secretary General suggested creating a page for IASS on Facebook to help spread the congress announcement and publicize the association.

After 2014, there is a proposal for the congress to be held at Aarhus University, Denmark in 2017. The prospective organizers had made their proposal at the 10th congress in La Coruña in 2009. Other formal proposals might still be invited during the General Assembly of IASS. Paul Cobley noted that Aarhus has recently been listed in the top ten universities in the world and advertises its programmes as ‘elite’. He added that there was not necessarily a case to prevent the IASS staging a congress in Europe twice in succession. The President then presented his proposal  for the process of auditing the IASS. One month before the congress the Treasurer would write a report with incomes and outcomes of the association. The elected auditors should analyze and approve/decline to approve the report. The auditors should be elected in the General Assembly and they must be external to the IASS. The Treasurer presented the bank account and the Paypal balance.

Marcia Schwatz gave a report about the journal, Semiotica. She indicated the strength of the journal and, in response to Gloria Withalm’s question about special concessions for journal members, said that she would investigate the possibility of securing content from de Gruyter for IASS members in the future – possibly in the form of free access to papers in Semiotica or even a discount on subscription.

The Board discussed Fatima Festic’s request for a refund of her fees and a payment to cover the travel and expenses she had incurred in attending this congress. After consideration, the Board was forced to reject her request because her case was no more special than that of many others that the IASS would not be able to afford to fund.

With the help of the Board members the President made a list of the semioticians that passed away in the last three years and resolved to offer an opportunity to remember them at the General Assembly.  These semioticians  were:

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Omar Calabrese,

Joseph Morton Ransdell,

Richard Shale Robin,

Jacques Geninasca,

Raymond Monelle


Ivo Osolsobe

Jeff Bernard.

The meeting ended at 9-25 pm.


Submitted by Priscila Borges

November 24th, 2012.



Minutes of the IASS Executive Committee and General Assembly

7 October, 2012.

From 7-30pm to 9-30pm, Conference Room, 3rd Floor, Nanshan Expert Building, Nanjing, China.

Attending: (from the Board) Eero Tarasti (President), José Enrique Finol (Vice-President), Jean Claude Mbarga (Vice-President), Youzheng Li (Vice-President), José María Paz Gago (Secretary General), Susan Petrilli (Treasurer), Paul Cobley (Vice-President), John Deely (Vice-Treasurer), Gloria Withalm (Honorary Vice-President), Priscila Borges (Vice Secretary-General). National representatives from the Executive Committee and IASS members.

Meeting Record: Priscila Borges

At 7-30 pm, the President announced that the Executive Committee meeting was and the General Assembly of the IASS would be merged. The agenda of both meetings were very similar and the all the Board members agreed to join the two meetings.

The IASS President, Eero Tarasti, began the meeting announcing the agenda:

1) President’s Report;

2) Secretary General’s Report;

3) Treasurer’s Report;

4) Reports on the semiotic situation in different countries and associations by the national delegates;

5) Semiotica report;

6) Next IASS Congresses report;

7) Any other issues.

The minutes are therefore as follows:

1) The President posed the question of whether it is actually possible to organize semiotics. He remembered that semiotics has been organized in many other associations and centers. He stated that, in this case, the IASS is just the top of the iceberg. One of the Association’s tasks is to organize two congresses in five years. Another one is to ensure that the Semiotica journal is published.  What, he asked, are the other tasks? The President stated that the IASS Boarding would like to hear from its members what they believe the other tasks of the IASS are. He noted the expansion of semiotics in recent years, as well as its difficulties in some countries; he noted, too, the shared educational problems in different countries. He argued that, in a meeting such as the present one, we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences from all over the world and to grow.

Then the president asked for one minute of silence in respect of Claude Lévi-Strauss,Omar Calabrese, Joseph Morton Ransdell, Richard Shale Robin, Jacques Geninasca, Raymond Monelle, Ivo Osolsobe and Jeff Bernard, semioticians that had passed way since the last meeting in La Coruña.

2) José María Paz Gago, the Secretary General, then gave his report showing that the number of countries represented in the IASS is growing. At the end of the La Coruña meeting there were 59 countries represented and 20 more countries have requested to be represented in the IASS. He suggested that it is also important to notice that the growth is not only in numbers, but also in quality of contributions.

Some countries have requested new representatives. The Secretary General read the list of new representatives and the assembly voted to accept all changes. (The list is available from the Secretary General ).

The President noted that Iceland has no representative, although the Secretary General informed the meeting that no request for Executive Committee had been made from that country.

3) Susan Petrilli, started her report as Treasurer noting that the IASS is not a rich association. According to the last report, dated 30 September 2012, from the bank, UniCredit (Bari, Italy), the amount on the IASS account currently amounts to 5.482, 52 Euros. She thus invited more members and suggested  that the Association could do more to attract members and to satisfy its current members. The Vice-Secretary General gave a supplementary report concerning payments via Paypal. She explained that the use of Paypal was a suggestion she made in La Coruña – when she became the Vice-Secretary General – to facilitate dues payment for non-Europeans. Depending on the country, the bank transfer to Italy (where the IASS account currently resides) can cost more than the IASS membership fee. During the last three years, 17 new members had paid their membership fee via Paypal, showing that Paypal has been used and is a good alternative to bank transfer.

After the reports of the Treasurer and the Vice-Secretary General, the President explained the auditor system that is going to be adopted by the association. One month before the congress the Treasurer will present a report with incomes and outcomes of the association. The elected auditors will analyze and approve/decline to approve the report. The auditors should be elected in the General Assembly and they must be external to the IASS. Mihaita Niculae applied to be an auditor and was elected by the General Assembly.

4) The reports of the national delegates on the semiotic situation in their countries began. However, after just two reports it became clear that it would take far too much time to hear all of them within the space allotted to the meeting. They were therefore asked to send their reports in written form to the Vice-Secretary General, and it was suggested that these could then be shared online on the Association’s website. This was agreed.

5) Marcia Schwartz gave a report on Semiotica, explaining current publishing issues, different ways of accessing Semiotica and different ways in which the publisher, de Gruyter Mouton, sought to disseminate research in semiotics through the journal. She suggested that researchers in semiotics should pay more attention to citing each others’ work, a practice now made easier by the facilities on the de Gruyter web platform.

6) Kristian Bankov gave a report about the next congress at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. He presented the strategies of the University to promote the image of semiotics and emphasized that semiotics is placed among the three most important disciplines, the development of which will provide an image for the academy identity of the New Bulgarian University. He also added that the New Bulgarian University is keen to set the fee as low as possible in order to attract as many participants as possible. The congress organizers will also seek support from some foundations and private companies. He added that the prices in their country are lower than in other European countries and this would assist in attracting participants to go to the congress in Sofia.

Peer Bundgaard presented the proposal for the 2017 conference in Aarhus, Denmark planned to be in May or June of 2017.

Zeynep Onur presented the Turkish proposal for the 2017 conference.

Daina Teters from Latvia expressed an interest in hosting the IASS meeting. A full proposal will be presented by her in 2014 at the Sofia Congress.

7) There was no other business.

The meeting ended at 9-30pm.


Submitted by Priscila Borges

November 24th, 2012.

IASS Bureau Elections – 2014

Candidates for Presidence
– Paul Cobley
– Jacques Fontanille
– Anne Henault

Candidates for Vice-Presidence

– Mohamed Bernoussi
– KIM Sung Do
 Susan Petrilli

Candidates for Secretary General

– Kristian Bankov
– Massimo Leone

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