Call for Papers

Call for papers

E|C n. 41, 2024

Together. Rhythms of Collectives and Practices of Coexistence
Edited by Giuditta Bassano (LUMSA, Roma), Michele Dentico (Università per stranieri, Perugia; Sapienza Università di Roma), Bianca Terracciano (Sapienza University of Rome) 

Semiotics has been focused on studying signs in social contexts since its inception, according to Saussure. In the discipline, the issue of how individuals coexist within groups, the rules that govern their interactions, and the formation and dissolution of these groups are particularly relevant topics of discussion.
Collectives, both past and present, are constantly transforming. They grow and shrink at their own pace, redefining their identity and criteria for eventual dissolution. Due to the rapid advancement in technology, the rise of artificial intelligence, climate crises, political tensions, and conflicts at the borders of Europe, as well as issues related to gender, religion, nutrition, and dietary claims, there is a need to establish new rules, redefine the roles of different actors, and define new standards to distance themselves from others and find a place for oneself.
Latour’s notion of collectives and hybrid worlds originated in Semiotics and was later applied to Anthropology and Sociology of Science. It has since been revisited. On the other hand, Barthes’ notion of the proper social distance is involved. Barthes coined the term “idiorhythm” to describe the balance between individualism and integration with others. These are, therefore, questions of a profoundly semiotic nature that also involve, for example, the realm of forms of life that, conceived as deviations from narrative and strategic rationality, install alternative ways of being in the world but which can also become standard, semiotic beings (Greimas) of collective and transversal nature.
Studying how people live and interact with each other in various aspects of life is an ideal area for Semiotics to examine. Semiotics can analyse how communities are formed, including the establishment of boundaries and limits, the circulation of values, and the distribution of roles. These aspects are determined by specific goals and semantic categories such as nature/culture, masculine/feminine, and human/animal. The following dimensions are to be considered: cognitive (knowledge groups, dissemination communities, expertise, alliances and beliefs, etc.), pragmatic (collective agents, styles of action, shared movements and narrative orientations), passionate (pathemic roles and types, passions of an epoch – even whole cultures, as Lotman reminds us, can be founded on dominant and shared passions), and, of course, corporeal (contagions, fashions, collective aesthetics, tastes and disgusts).
This issue of E|C is dedicated to exploring the conditions of coexistence from a semiotic approach, considered a meaning effect. Investigating the forms of living together involves analysing the processes and systems that create a suitable environment for coexistence. This environment is regarded as a semiotic space of relationships that may be conflictual or peaceful, negotiated or imposed, but always active and participatory in a collective society.
This objective can be approached from a Semiotic perspective, which is anti-essentialist, non-ontological and non-reductionist. Semiotics is, in this regard, specific to other human sciences and includes all agents of social change and meaning, regardless of their form, such as human and non-human, living and non-living, objects, animals, technologies, microbes, forces, whether political or atmospheric, earthly or otherworldly.
According to Landowski and Marrone, the social can be understood as a meaning effect. There is nothing inherently social, but it is created through networks and mediations, as per Latour. Therefore, this issue is open to all analyses adopting the various semiotic approaches (sociosemiotics, ethnosemiotics, semiotics of culture, etc.) to understand and criticise social meaning. Such approaches share a common epistemological orientation and methodology, as highlighted by Fabbri.

Please find below a list of potential research areas that you may consider exploring:

- Interactions between humans and non-humans, and how intelligent technologies and devices (such as wearable objects, VR visors, and smartphones) affect these interactions.
- The integration of artificial intelligence into everyday life and workplaces.
- The problem of deep fakes and the trustworthiness of information and images.
- New forms of musealization and artification, such as collections and installations.
- Religion and the politics of worship communities.
- Ecologies, relations with the environment and animals, and reflections on perspectivism and ontologies (Descola, Viveiros de Castro).
- The role of community in establishing beliefs, as discussed by Peirce and Apel.
- Food and dietetics, including traditions, changes, and the coexistence of different diets.
- Forms of life and intersubjective relations between individuals and groups, such as friendships, alliances, misunderstandings, and conflicts.
- The relation between space and collectivity, including the redefinition of norms of living together from condominiums to homes.
- The figures and processes of purification adopted by the collectives in the anthropological sense (according to the semantic poles of the foreigner/owner, the pure/impure, the toxic/healthy, etc.)
- Issues and values in the work environment (processes for building, breaking, and maintaining work teams and research groups, as well as the impact of remote work on them).
- Coexistence between different generations (cultural heritage, heritage care, and the role of older generations).

Bibliographic References

Barthes, R., 2002, Comment vivre ensemble, Paris, Seuil.

Fabbri, P., 1998, La svolta semiotica, Roma, Laterza; nuova ed. La Nave di Teseo, Milano 2023.

Greimas, A. J., 1966, Sémantique structurale, Paris, Larousse.

Landowski, E., 1989, La société réfléchie, Paris, Seuil.

Latour, B., 2005, Reassembling the Social, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Lotman, Ju., 2006, Tesi per una semiotica delle culture, a cura di F. Sedda, Roma, Meltemi.

Marrone, G., Migliore, T., a cura, 2022, Cura del senso e critica sociale, Milano, Mimesis.

Saussure, F. de, 1916, Cours de linguistique générale, Paris, Editions Payot.


Deadline for submission of essays: 5 May, 2024

Deadline for submission of final essays: 25 June, 2024

Publication: September 2024

Papers should have a maximum length of 40000 characters and must be submitted together with an abstract in English of a maximum of 1000 characters.


Send proposals to:

Download the Call for Papers 41 (.PDF)



Call for papers

E|C n. 42, 2023

Kafka. The Politics of Translation
Edited by Isabella Pezzini (Sapienza University, Rome) and Paolo Sorrentino (University IULM, Milan) 

“How to enter a work like Kafka’s? A work that is a rhizome, a burrow?”
With these words opens one of Deleuze and Guattari’s major contributions to the critique of language and the treatment of meaning.
One hundred years after the Bohemian author’s death, his work never ceases to provoke questioning, intercession, adaptation. Translations. For semiotics, the anniversary is then propitious to try a double movement. On the one hand, to turn its gaze to Kafka’s passions, in which it recognizes usual objects: nightmares, monsters, irony, anguish, madness, desire, fear, metamorphosis, bureaucracy. Power. On the other, refine its tools, addressing eminently semiotic problems: language, translation, culture, textuality, enunciation, passion, actoriality, spatiality, temporality.
The operation consists in vibrating the positions, observing them with a squinting gaze. Our belief is that it is translation theory that propitiates analysis and viceversa. Far from situating itself on a pole of negativity – although there is no shortage of more or less predictable misunderstandings, such as those highlighted by Kundera on the mutilated language of humor – we think of translation as a process of correlation capable of (re)assembling the concatenations that bind action and passion.
Hence a series of politics of translation. Like a spider, the subject of enunciation translates the world into its dense web of relations while situating himself there; but this does not free him from being in turn taken up, translated, and situated by the world’s textures that survive him.
With respect to the first side, consider the dialogical relations between language and language, with which Kafka’s writing is woven. As the two friends in Literature Minor recall, he lives in the condition of “being in his own language as a foreigner”. Hence the desire to reverse the meaning of the dream, to “Dream a dream in reverse”. Making of minor culture a major use (Fabbri). In this respect, the forms of localization of language, the (re)assembly of world configurations, the rearrangement of power relations are interesting.
Again, consider the ways in which the different languages employed by Kafka – an inexhaustible heritage of letters, short stories, novels, but also diaries, dreams, parables, and even sketches, drawings, illustrations – may or may not enter into correlative relationships, opening up a field of possibilities. To be analyzed as a network of relatively autonomous textual formations or to offer themselves as functions of an overall formation, even to the point of recognizing in the artist’s life the warp of his or her translations, and flashing the outline of a semiotic personality (Lotman).
For the second side, we think about the translation relations between different social discourses. From the philosophical to the artistic to the religious and political. From comics – think of Peter Kuper’s recent The Nightmares of Kafka – to cinema, from Martin Scorsese’s After Hours to Federico Fellini’s Intervista. Not to mention incalculable ascendancies in literary discourse where he marks a canon in his own right, to become (in spite of himself) the protagonist of a European tradition that turns the tables, to which Kundera assigns the name of kafkology. And, last but not least, to the relationship with the everyday world, into which he has penetrated to the point of becoming an adjective, managing to highlight its tensions and contradictions, perhaps the (im)predictability of the relations between art and life.
We therefore invite scholars and scholars to collaborate on issue 42 of E|C, with analytical and theoretical contributions around five fundamental relationships:

  1. Translation between semiotic system and language. Language as a site of identification, a strategic terrain of conflict and negotiation, a factor of standardization and minimization.
  2. The relationships between text and discourse. Think of the tensions that run through the different genres experienced by Kafka, which make his general pigeonholing difficult: from realism to symbolism, from the grotesque to the religious, from parable to dream. Within this tangle the states of actors, spaces and times are reflected, translated (and altered). In this sense, in Kafka one finds as many monsters, deformed, abnormal, as enveloping beds and endless corridors, as paradoxical forms of time. It is therefore interesting to explore the passionate and sensory level: hallucinated states of mind, anguish, restlessness, tremors run through Kafka’s work.
  3. Translation between criticism and philosophy. Without wishing to repeat Kafka’s presence in philosophical discourse, we want, if anything, to bring attention to the meta-semiotic character of his work.
  4. Translation among the muses of art. Relationships with comics, illustrations, cinema. The (re)discovery of a heritage of sketches, drawings, figures, which enter into translational correlation with his literary work, revealing an opportunity to grasp unprecedented access.
  5. The relations between art and life. The relationship between Kafka and the everyday is one of mutual interpenetration. Kafka’s writing plumbs and intervenes - not only figuratively, but plastically - on the semiotic formations that spin the everyday fabric, wanting to identify in it points of fracture, but also loopholes. Of this tangle, Kafka penetrates the sensitive dimension to reveal how its every sense of determinacy soon unravels into a motif of illusion. A trap, with innumerable escape lines and false ways out. On the other hand, it is the same writing strategy that beats the path of enunciated utterance, translating the concatenations of experience, to provoke openings, reflections, transformations.


Bibliographic References

Benjamin, W., 1962, Angelus Novus. Saggi e frammenti, a cura di R. Solmi, Torino, Einaudi.

Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., 1975, Kafka, pour une littérature mineure, Paris, Minuit.

Fabbri, P., 2000, “Dialogo sulle letterature minori”, in AA.VV., I maestri. Voci e parole del Novecento verso il terzo millennio, Parma, Contatto.

Greimas, A. J., 1976, Maupassant. La sémiotique du texte: exercices pratiques, Paris, Seuil.

Kafka, F., 2023, Tutti i romanzi, tutti i racconti e i testi pubblicati in vita, trad. it. e cura di M. Nervi, Milano, Bompiani.

Kundera, M., 1994, I testamenti traditi, Milano, Adelphi.

Lotman, J.M., 1992, Kul’tura i Vzryv, Moskva, Gnosis, trad. it. La cultura e l’esplosione, Milano, Mimesis, 2022.

Marrone, G., 2017, “Bestialità. Culture animali”, in G. Marrone, Zoosemiotica 2.0. Forme e politiche dell’animalità, Palermo, Edizioni Museo Pasqualino.

Marrone, G., 2024, Nel semiocene. Enciclopedia incompleta delle vite terrestri, Roma, Luiss University Press.

Pezzini, I., 2018, “From a cockroach’s point of view: The Metamorphosis of Perception in Kafka”, in International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 31.

Rella, F., 2005, Scritture estreme. Proust e Kafka, Milano, Feltrinelli.

Sebald, W.G., 2003, Vertigini, Milano, Adelphi.

Sedda, F., 2018, “Traduzioni invisibili. Concatenamenti, correlazioni e ontologie semiotiche”, in Versus. Quaderni di Studi Semiotici, 126.

Trotta, F., 2021, Presenze Kafkiane nell’opera di WG Sebald, Milano, Aletti.


Deadline for submission of abstracts (max 2000 characters): 15 July 2024

Acceptance of abstracts: 25 July  2024

Deadline for submission of final essays: 30 August 2024

Publication: December 2024

Papers should have a maximum length of 40000 characters and must be submitted together with an abstract in English of a maximum of 1000 characters.

Send proposals to:

Download the Call for Papers 42 (.PDF)



Call for papers
E|C n. 43, 2025

Strange Foods
edited by Mohamed Bernoussi (University Moulay Ismail, Meknès)

There are permitted foods and forbidden foods. Through both, each culture establishes a culinary identity (Douglas 1966) that defines it as an irreducible entity. But there are also foods in between: they are neither permitted nor forbidden, or forbidden for some and permitted for others, marginalised or tolerated for a minority under certain conditions. This is the case of wine in Muslim societies, but also of hashish pastes (al-majoune or al-m'aassel), of cannabis authorised by the state under certain conditions in Western societies, of love potions in their various forms, or of traditional medicine recipes to alleviate physical pain not alleviated by traditional medicine.
This cuisine, at the same time tolerated, secretive and sometimes even sinister, first interested medicine, pharmacology, demonology and esotericism (Muchembled 1979); semiotics has never been interested in it, except rarely or episodically (Eco 1990; Stengel 2024) and yet it can raise numerous questions concerning its semiosis, its narrative status, the types of relations established between its expressive plane and its content plane; for example, aphrodisiac recipes (Bernoussi 2024) or traditional medicine recipes (Eco 1990).
It also raises questions about culinary prohibitions and the exercise of power. This is the case, for example, of the paradox of wine in Moroccan and Arab-Muslim societies in general, which crystallises a permanent tension between authorising and forbidding, between monitoring and not punishing or doing so extemporaneously out of opportunism or pragmatism in order to remind us that, even when acting within precise legal frameworks, power has its own reasons that reason does not know. It is the regime of tolerating, which allows the exercise of real power, that is based on the discourse of guilt (Foucault 1975). To prohibit and at the same time tolerate encourages clandestinity and allows the exercise of power, whose main resource in this case is bad conscience.
On the other hand, clandestine conviviality around an ambiguous dish or drink raises questions about the nature of the convivial occasion and those who take part in it, the nchaywiya around a table of kif or majoune, or an adulterated brandy (mahya).
But there are contexts in which these foods of the marings are prepared and consumed alone. They are intended for a guest without his or her knowledge, through lies and dissimulations. This is the case with love or hate potions that use authorised dishes as their official vehicle and whose meaning is reversed.
In this sense they resemble aphrodisiacs, but without declared intentionality since they are often performed in absolute secrecy. In the case of revenge, the potion is aimed at someone who has gone from being a friend or lover to an enemy, and thus to the subject of a decisive narrative reversal based on unfulfilled horizons of expectation or brutal reversals of the expected narrative program (Marrone 2011, 2016).
These foods raise multiple questions. We can consider the following areas as examples of investigtion:

  1. Semiotic issues raised by foods from the margins;
  2. Hate or love potions, narrative and construction of the subject;
  3. Foods of revenge and representations of the enemy;
  4. Aphrodisiac recipes between representations of gender and power;
  5. Wine, hallucinogenic foods and hashish.

Bibliographic References

BenKheira, H., 2000, Islam et interdits alimentaires. Juguler l’animalité, Paris, PUF.

Bernoussi, M., 2016, “Sémiosis du corps dans la littérature sexologique arabe”, in Semiotica 129, Berlin-Boston, de Gruyter.

Bernoussi, M., 2020, “Le paradoxe du vin dans le récit de voyage”, in Vin et altérité, Presses Universitaires de Reims.

Bernoussi, M., 2023, “Sémiotique des recettes aphrodisiaques”, in A la Recherche de l’orgasme gastronomique, K. Stengel (ed.), Paris, L’Harmattan.

Eco, U., 1990, I limiti dell’interpretazione, Milano, Bompiani.

Foucault, M., 1975, Surveiller et punir, Paris, Gallimard.

Douglas, M., 1966, Purity and Danger, an analysis of the concepts of pollution and taboo, Routeldge and Kegan Paul, London.

Marrone, G., 2011, Introduzione alla semiotica del testo, Roma-Bari.

Marrone, G., 2016, Semiotica del Gusto, Milano, Mimesis.

Muchembled, R., 1979, La sorcière au village, Paris, Gallimard.

Stengel, K. (ed.), 2024, A la Recherche de l’orgasme gastronomique, Paris, L’Harmattan (forthcoming).


Deadline for submission of abstracts (max 2000 characters):  5 September 2024

Acceptance of abstracts: 15 September 2024

Deadline for submission of final essays: 10 December 2024

Publication: April 2025

Papers should have a maximum length of 40000 characters and may be submitted together with an abstract in English of a maximum of 1000 characters.

Send proposals to:

Download the Call for Papers 43 (.PDF)