History of the Hellenic Semiotic Society

The Hellenic Semiotic Society was founded in 1978 at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, with the aim to promote the growth of semiotic studies and research in Greece. Its multidisciplinary membership includes researchers from almost all of the twenty-four public Greek Universites. The Society is a member of the International Association of Semiotic Societies (IASS-AIS, http://iass-ais.org), participating with two national representatives in the IASS Executive Committee and one representative in the Balkan Association for Semiotic Studies. It also collaborates closely with the Southeast European Centre for Semiotic Studies at the New Bulgarian University of Sofia (https://semiotics.nbu.bg/en/) and Cyprus’ Semiotic Circle.

The members of the Hellenic Semiotic Society are active in a wide range of fields of semiotic theory and research: lingistics, translation, literature, visual and performative arts, political, intercultural and science communication, design, graphics and advertising, popular culture, new media and social media, education and anthropology, animal studies, archeology, museum and memory studies, architecture and urban planning.

The Hellenic Semiotic Society is generally characterized by its sustained focus on semiotics as an analytical-critical approach to current socio-cultural processes and phenomena. Its distinctive semotic perspective has been cited in international literature as the “Greek School” or the “School of Thessaloniki”, and was grouped with the “Anglo-Australian School”, the “School of Bari”, the “Finnish School”, the “School of Tartu” and the “School of Vienna” (see Paul Cobley & Anti Randviir, 2009, “Introduction: What is Sociosemiotics?” Semiotica 173 (1/4): 1-39).

The Society has organised several conferences and symposia, at a national or international level, with the participation of distinguished Greek and foreign semioticians. With the exception of the 2015 volume, the conference proceedings are published in Greek, with contributions in English or French:

  • Semiotics and Society (in Greek; Athens: Odysseas, 1980)
  • Εspace et sémiotique (special issue of the journal Espaces et Sociétés, 1985)
  • The Dynamics of Signs (in Greek; Thessaloniki: Paratiritis, 1986)
  • Man the Sign-Maker (in Greek; Thessaloniki, Paratiritis, 1996)
  • Semiotics and Education (in Greek; Thessaloniki, Paratiritis, 1996)
  • The Life of Signs (in Greek; Thessaloniki: Paratiritis, 1996)
  • Semiotics and Culture (in Greek; Thessaloniki: Paratiritis, 2001)
  • Semiotic Systems and Communication: Action, Reaction, Situation and Change (in Greek; Thessaloniki: Paratiritis, 2004)
  • Interculturalism, Globalisation and Identities (in Greek; Athens: Gutenberg, 2008)
  • Semiotics and (Ideo)logies: Borders, Regions, Diasporas (in Greek; Thessaloniki: University Studio Press, 2011).
  • Semiotics and Hermeneutics of the Everyday (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015)
  • Changing Worlds and Signs of the Times (electronic edition). Thessaloniki: Hellenic Semiotic Society, 2015)
  • The fugue of the Five Senses: The Semiotics of Shifting Sensorium (electronic edition). Thessaloniki: Hellenic Semiotic Society, 2019)

Since 2015, the Hellenic Semiotic Society publishes Punctum-International Journal of Semiotics (http://punctum.gr), a peer-reviewed, on-line, free access journal dedicated to the semiotic study of contemporary cultural texts, practices and processes. Published twice a year (Summer & Winter issue), it has succeeded to attract both established and younger scholars, and gain considerable readership internationally.

Since 2016, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki established the Laboratory of Semiotics (http://semiolab.eu/index.php/en/). Amongst its major activities is the organization of lectures by invited Greek and foreign semioticians, as well as of a week-long Summer School of Semiotics (in early July), especially designed for graduate and doctoral students. Both these activities succeed to bring semiotics to a wider audience. 

Semiotics is taught at Greek universities at undergraduate and postgraduate level, mostly as part of programs of study in humanities, education, communications and architecture. Since September 2018, the Faculty of Philosophy of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki offers a Joint Master Program in Semiotics, Culture and Communication (https://dpms-semiotics.frl.auth.gr/).