Textual semiotics is not an application of general theoretical models of the "sign" elaborated in abstract form, but is a precise theoretical line of research whose object of study is not "signs", understood as autonomous and isolated entities, but, in fact, the “text", conceived as a relational structure through which the signification is manifested. In this perspective, the "text" does not coincide with particular empirical objects, but with any configuration capable of expressing "meaning": literary pieces, pictorial and photographic images, audio-visual sequences, artistic or industrial artifacts, cultural practices (ways of dressing, eating, living, conversing ...), spatial configurations, etc.
All these "objects" are in fact of semiotic interest to the extent that they appear able to "have meaning" for someone or to represent and communicate “a meaning”.
The course will focus in particular on the theoretical model developed from the work of A.J. Greimas, known as "generative semiotics" and on its epistemological foundations, rooted in the structural linguistics of F. De Saussure and L.Hjelmslev, in the phenomenology of M .Merleau-Ponty, in some addresses of post-structuralist philosophy (G.Deleuze and F.Guattari, M.Foucault).
The course will then dwell on the relationship between semiotics and other interpretative disciplines, considering in particular the hermeneutics of P.Ricoeur, which has woven a rich debate with Greimas, and some addresses of anthropology particularly aware of the problem of "meaning", as those represented by C.Levi-Strauss and C.Geertz, to the more recent P.Descola, E.Kohn, E.Viveiros de Castro.
The course also will deepen some specific issues: the modes of signification of the spatial configurations and inter-semiotic translation.