Baltic accent

2018 Vol. 9 № 4

Back to the list Download an article

The problem of meaning in Social Semiotics: Max Weber today



A human activity is based on the constant creation, transmission and transformation of meanings and texts. All the forms of representation of this activity (culture, history, literature, art, politics, law, etc.) can be considered as semantic ensembles consisted from meaningful actions. The concept of “meaning” is fundamental not only in linguistics amd semiotics, but also in M. Weber's theory: thesubject of sociology is the understanding of “the meaning of behavior”. Based on the Weber’s definitions and their possible modification, we suggest the transdisciplinary synthesis around the study of the problem of meanings and their manifestation. Meaning production is understood as a result of the conjunction of linguistic and extralinguistic systems in the process of social interaction and communication. This allows to convert actional meanings into linguistic meanings, and vice versa.


Weber, M., 1990. Basic sociological concepts. In: Yu. N. Davydova, ed. Weber Maks. Izbrannye proizvedeniya [Weber Max. Selected Works]. Moscow, pp. 602—643 (in Russ.).
Vygotsky, L. S., 1983. Problemy razvitiya psikhiki [Problems of the development of the psyche]. Vol. 3. Moscow (in Russ.).
Vygotsky, L. S., 1999. Myshlenie i rech' [Thinking and speaking]. Vol. 5. Moscow (in Russ.).
Elmslev, L., 1960. Prolegomena to the theory of language. In: V. A. Zvegintsev, ed. Novoe v lingvistike [New in linguistics]. Vol. 1. Moscow, pp. 264—389 (in Russ.).
Zolyan, S. T., Chernov, I. A., 1977. On the structure of the language of behavior description. Uchenye zapiski Tartuskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Scientific notes of Tartu State University], 411, pp. 151—163 (in Russ.).
Zolyan, S., 2017. Yuri Lotman and social semiotics: to the problem statement. Zbornik Matice Srpske za slavistiku = Matica Srpska Journal of Slavic Studies, 92, pp. 123—150 (in Russ.).
Lotman, Yu. M., 1984. About semiosphere. Uchenye zapiski Tartuskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Scientific notes of Tartu State University], 641, 5—23 (in Russ.). 
Lotman, Yu., 2008. A few introductory words. Sign Systems Studies, 36(2), pp. 509—511 (in Russ.).
Luman, N., 2004. Obshchestvo kak sotsial'naya sistema [Society as a social system]. Moscow (in Russ.).
Luman, N., 2007. Sotsial'nye sistemy. Ocherk obshchei teorii [Social systems. Essay on a general theory]. St. Petersburg (in Russ.).
Zlatoust, I., 1902. Tvoreniya svyatogo ottsa nashego Ioanna Zlatousta, arkhiepiskopa Konstantinopol'skogo [The works of our holy father John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople]. Vol. 8. St. Petersburg (in Russ.).
Halliday, M. A. K., 1978. Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. Baltimore: University Park Press.
Leeuwen, T., 2005. Introducing Social Semiotics. London — New York: Routlegde. 
Searle, J., 1995. The construction of social reality. New York.