Semiotics of the Book: Books, Stories, Narratives and Sign Systems

By J. I. (Hans) Bakker.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Elizabeth Eisenstein (1979) has written on the printing press as an agent of social change. The cultural transformation of Europe in the sixteenth century has to also be understood as an economic and political transformation, of course, and the sociological insights of Max Weber are very useful in that regard. If we take a text semiotic approach we can improve on Weber's sociological theory. Peirce’s semiotics provides the basis for an epistemological break-through that goes beyond Cartesian dualism of subject and object. While Weber never explicitly discusses semiotics it is nevertheless useful to read his work through semiotic lenses. To do so, however, does not require going beyond a “foundationalist” approach to social science and the humanities.

Keywords: Semiotics, Text Semiotics, Weber, Peirce, Protestant Ethic, Geist, Modern Capitalism, Printed Book, Print Media

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.221-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 846.088KB).

Prof. J. I. (Hans) Bakker

Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Guelph, Canada

I was born in the Netherlands and educated in the U.S. before I came to Canada in 1971 to begin my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. I have stayed in Canada thirty-five years and have published significant work in Southeast Asian Studies and sociological theory. I have done international rural development work in Indonesia and have written about M. K. (“Mahatma”) Gandhi.


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