Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bruce A. Arrigo & Christopher R. Williams
The field of semiotics examines meaning and the meaning-making process based on an analysis of various systems of communication, involving, for example, religious, legal, or political discourse. To locate meaning and its production, two semiotic axes inform the interpretive process: the paradigmatic axis and the syntagmatic axis. The paradigmatic axis refers to the selection of words or phrases in a given speech chain; it relates to semantics and word meanings. The syntagmatic axis refers to the organization or arrangement of words or phrases in a given speech sequence and represents the grammatical rules for correctly situating the selected paradigms into a narratively coherent system of communication. The paradigmatic-syntagmatic relationship is the starting point for any semiotic inquiry concerned with meaning production. The application of semiotic theory and methodology to the field of law and society has its origins in developments in both America and Europe. The European tradition is based ...