Etymologically derived from the Greek word semeion which means ‘sign,’ semiotics can be defined as the study of signs and of the systems,
rules and conventions that allow signs to have meaning. This thematic issue of Cultura
Journal seeks to provide an overview of different theories on the study of sign systems
and their impact upon social practices across the world. In order to achieve this
goal, the volume incorporates papers that deal with ancient civilizations and contemporary
societies, ways of thinking and experiences from a broad spectrum of world cultures.
Interestingly, the impact of Western semiotics is strongly felt upon the non Western
analyses that form part of this issue. Many studies take as starting point the work
of the North-American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce; others focus on the ideas
developed by European linguists such as Ferdinand de Saussure, C.K. Ogden and I.A.
Richards, or Roland Barthes. Undoubtedly, this shows the impact of critical theory
on knowledge development and dissemination. But even more importantly, it illustrates
the uneven distribution, and unfair location of knowledge production in certain economic
clusters and regions of the world, disclosing the mechanisms that enable the empowerment
of certain cultures at the expense of others.