History of the Hellenic Semiotic Society

The Hellenic Semiotics Society focuses on the study and spread of Semiotics in Greece. Semiotics is the scientific field that studies the cultural phenomena as systems of signs in contemporary and past societies. Semiotics studies the daily behaviour, the messages transmitted by gestures, the way people get dressed, the structures of poetry and literature, the way music, painting and other forms of art communicate, the messages transmitted by theatre, cinema and other mass media, as well as the messages transmitted by architecture. In this way, Semiotics is multidimensional and interdisciplinary that is associated with all forms of art and a wide range of theoretical and applied sciences, ranging from sociolinguistics, folkloristics, anthropology, archaeology and psychology through the fields of philosophy, linguistics, and criticism of literature to architecture and urban planning.

The Hellenic Semiotics Society is a member of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS-AIS, http://iass-ais.org) and participates in its processes with two national representatives of the IASS Executive Committee and one representative of the Balkan Association for Semiotic Studies who have the right to vote.

The Hellenic Semiotic Society was founded in 1978 at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, with the aim of encouraging the propagation of semiotics in Greece. Its members are mainly from the academic community, and many of them have published in recognized international scientific journals and participated in international semiotic events. The Society is a member of the International Association of Semiotic Societies and collaborates closely with the Southeast European Center for Semiotic Studies at the New Bulgarian University of Sofia (https://semiotics.nbu.bg/en/) and the Cyprus Semiotic Cyrcle.

The Greek direction in socio-semiotic research has been noted in the international bibliography as the “Greek School” or the “School of Thessaloniki”, and 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, on the national or international level, with the participation of distinguished Greek and foreign speakers. It has reached a wide audience through its published volumes of conference proceedings, mainly in Greek but sometimes 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)

Semiotics is taught at Greek universities on the undergraduate and postgraduate level, generally not as an autonomous degree-granting program but as part of programs of study in the human sciences, education, architecture and photography. Since 2015, the Hellenic Semiotic Society publishes Punctum-International Journal of Semiotics, a blind peer-reviewed, on-line journal dedicated to the semiotic study of contemporary cultural texts, practices and processes. Since 2016, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki established the Laboratory of Semiotics/AUTH SemioLab (http://semiolab.eu/index.php/en/). Since the academic year 2018-19, the Faculty of Philosophy of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki offers a Join Master Program in Semiotics, Culture and Communication (https://dpms-semiotics.frl.auth.gr/).