Relationalism: From Greimas to hyperstructuralism

Franciscu Sedda


The emergence of New Realism in philosophy and the Ontological Turn in anthropology testify to the increasing attention paid in the human sciences to the topic of ‘reality’. The aim of this essay is to reread and translate Greimas’ proposal of a semiotic of the natural world, so as to suggest how his concepts might contribute to the contemporary intellectual debate. From a discussion of Greimas’ attempt to solve the problem of the relation between ‘language’ and ‘world’ in nonreferentialist terms, the essay will then move to identify the four forms of correlation that constitute natures and worlds, objects and subjects. In bringing his argument to the extreme consequences, I will call for a reevaluation of structuralism, and propose to distinguish ‘reality’ from ‘the real’. Both hypotheses rest on the idea that relations are the matter we are made of.


semiotics; language; correlations; ontologies; realism; relations

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SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia