Reading semiotics

Jan M. Broekman, Larry Cata Backer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

A text has, not unlike a word, never one meaning and in particular never one forever fixated meaning, as lawyers experience often against their desire when they would like to find an “originalist” ground for their determination of text-meanings in law. Reading legal texts in the semiotic mode is reading sign meanings in connection with their social function, and, what is more: reading the sign whilst it unfolds into a diversity of meanings. To understand a text as an (social) action seems a risk. How can laws, conceived in the form of texts, ever be an act rather than a norm for action? The answer is, that speech not only creates communication and information but also a horizon of expectation and activity within which social acts unfold. A legal text is a hierarchically organized intentional unit of written speech acts, which is not arbitrarily composed but constructed for a social and political purpose, constituting a presence and function of law in society. Such texts are composites and surfaces made for a specific reception-situation dominated by for example the court, the judge's decision, or the concept of precedent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSigns in Law - A Source Book
Subtitle of host publicationThe Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Pages3-20
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319098371
ISBN (Print)9783319098364
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Fingerprint

semiotics
Reading
Lawyers
Jurisprudence
Law
Communication
social function
speech act
lawyer
communication
Legal Texts
experience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Broekman, J. M., & Backer, L. C. (2015). Reading semiotics. In Signs in Law - A Source Book: The Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III (pp. 3-20). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-09837-1_1
Broekman, Jan M. ; Backer, Larry Cata. / Reading semiotics. Signs in Law - A Source Book: The Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III. Springer International Publishing, 2015. pp. 3-20
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Broekman, JM & Backer, LC 2015, Reading semiotics. in Signs in Law - A Source Book: The Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III. Springer International Publishing, pp. 3-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-09837-1_1

Reading semiotics. / Broekman, Jan M.; Backer, Larry Cata.

Signs in Law - A Source Book: The Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III. Springer International Publishing, 2015. p. 3-20.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Broekman JM, Backer LC. Reading semiotics. In Signs in Law - A Source Book: The Semiotics of Law in Legal Education III. Springer International Publishing. 2015. p. 3-20 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-09837-1_1