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Critical Realism and Semiosis.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/2002
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Journal number1
Volume5
Number of pages9
Pages2-10
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper explores the mutual implication of critical realism and semiosis (or the intersubjective production of meaning). It argues that critical realism must integrate semiosis into its account of social relations and social structuration. This goes well beyond the question of whether reasons can be causes to include more basic issues of the performativity of semiosis and the relationship between interpretation (verstehen) and causal explanation (erklären). The paper then demonstrates how critical realism can integrate semiosis into its accounts of dialectic of structure and agency through an evolutionary approach to structuration. It also demonstrates how critical semiotic analysis (including critical discourse analysis) can benefit from critical realism. In the latter respect we consider the emergence of semiotic effects and extra-semiotic effects from textual practices and give two brief illustrations of how this works from specific texts. The paper concludes with more general recommendations about the articulation of the discursive and extra-discursive aspects of social relations and its implications for critical realism.