Call for Papers

The society of hybrids
Edited by Paolo Peverini (LUISS University, Rome), Isabella Pezzini (Sapienza University, Rome)

The issue n. 37 of E|C aims to explore the notion of hybrid, starting again from the relationship between semiotics and the work of Bruno Latour, with the intention of highlighting not only the contribution of the structuralistic theory of signification in the development of research on the paradoxes of modernity, but also to explore the fallout and potential of this concept for contemporary semiotic research.
The call for papers of this issue is driven by the belief that although the relationship between semiotics and Latour is far from episodic or marginal, it is evident that in the social sciences the contribution of semiotics has on the whole been scarcely recognized, as a proof of its apparent “out-of-dateness”, despite – or perhaps further proof – of its reasonable effectiveness (Fabbri 2021, p. 34).

In the field of semiotic studies, however, we are seeing growing signs of renewed interest in the notion of hybrid and its application in the study of the different modes of existence and phenomena of signification at play in the social. While, therefore, it is necessary to reiterate that the role of semiotics cannot be limited to the metaphor of a useful, yet simplified, “toolbox” for Actor Network Theory, it must also be acknowledged that Latour’s original rethinking of concepts such as actant, hybrid, enunciation has proved fruitful in advancing semiotic reflection, especially in understanding a contemporaneity marked by a multiplicity of relations between human and non-human actors, by a proliferation of collectives that forces one to overcome the anthropocentric perspective centered on a supposed asymmetry between subjects and objects.

In the latourian perspective the formation and the persistence of a hybrid is understood as the outcome of a passage of agentivity between different elements, as the set of delegations and mediations that allow for the establishment of a relationship between heterogeneous entities endowed with different modes of existence. If this approach challenges dichotomies such as natural vs. artificial, subject vs. object, it may also be interesting to broaden the reflection to how technique can be conceived, at a time when its developments invest and transform even traditional modes of expression.
This monographic issue of E|C aims to explore broadly the semiotic perspective on the notion of hybrid through the following thematic fields:

Hybrid between proliferation and practices of concealment.
• Multinaturalism/inter-naturalism/anthroposemiotics. The Nature/Culture dialectic: anthropological influences (Descola, Viveiros de Castro, etc.) on both Latour’s work and semiotic research (anthropocene, ecology, animality and other forms of life unfolding from the human/non-human relationship);
• Design/objects/technology: “old” and new hybrids in semiotic and socio-semiotics research;
• Reflection on the theoretical-philosophical side of the relationship between humans and artifacts, between aesthetics and semiotics.

Deadline for proposals (max 2000 characters): October 15, 2022
Notification of acceptance of proposals: October 30, 2022
Deadline for final contributions: December 20, 2022
Publication: March 2023

The texts must have a maximum length of 50000 characters and be accompanied by an abstract in English of maximum 1000 characters.
Proposals should be sent to:

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