Latour and Biosemiotics. The Hybrid Notion of Life

  • Nicola Zengiaro


This article investigates the influences of Latour’s theories on the field of biosemiotics studies. Biosemioticians share common premises based on the paradigm offered by Thomas Sebeok, namely that “life and semiosis are coextensive”. In current theories, the founding principle of biosemiotics is that semiosis exists in all living things and only in living things. The goal of this article is to show how Latourian theories can challenge this paradigm. The first part of the article introduced biosemiotics in its historical context. In the second part, it will be shown that Latourian theories have been rarely used by biosemioticians because: 1. the notion of life, when combined with Latour’s reflection on hybrids, becomes a vague and undecidable concept; 2. the notion of agency offered by Latour proposes an extension to the inanimate as well. In this sense, the boundary between animate and inanimate becomes difficult to identify and is often transgressed. By incorporating Latour’s notions of hybrid and agency into biosemiotics, it is possible to offer a new perspective in this field. Finally, it will be shown that ecosemiotics can be a valuable tool that can interact with Latour’s semiotic discourse.

How to Cite
Zengiaro, N. (2023). Latour and Biosemiotics. The Hybrid Notion of Life. E|C, (37), 130-145. Retrieved from