Semiotics in Mainstream American Communication Studies: A Review of Principal U.S.A. Journals in the Context of Communicology

Isaac E. Catt, Deborah Eicher-Catt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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This article reviews semiotics research in mainstream journals of communication. First, we offer a quantitative analysis of the extent to which the journals recognize semiotics as a legitimate area of concern. Second, we conduct a qualitative assessment of the few substantive contributions to semiotics in the communication literature in order to comprehend how the research conceives semiotics. We discuss both strengths and weaknesses of this very limited attention afforded semiotics and its relevance to promoting insightful semiotic scholarship more broadly in the communication discipline. Third, we contextualize our findings by suggesting that both implicit and explicit theoretical commitments incrementally imposed in the field's history and culture formed a barrier to advancing semiotic scholarship. Given a resurgence of interest in pragmatism (fueled by theoreticians such as C.S. Peirce, Dewey, Mead, and James), we end with a discussion of the relevance of semiotics to a fuller understanding of pragmatism. Our overall objectives are to stimulate interest in a neglected area of communication research and draw attention to the systematic research in communication and semiotics that has been pursued inside and "outside" the mainstream disciplinary matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-200
Number of pages25
JournalReview of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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