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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2015, Issue 207


Discourse analysis with Peirce? Making sense of discursive regularities: The case of online university prospectuses

Jeoffrey Gaspard
  • Corresponding author
  • Département des sciences de l’information et de la communication, Université libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles 1050, Belgium
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Published Online: 2015-07-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0042


We discuss online promotional texts presenting French-speaking European public universities. We suggest that these descriptive texts (a particular academic institution being the semiotic object being referred to) combine homogenizing generic and interdiscursive regularities that assure the control of their interpretation: on the one hand, generic regularities show that the specific social practice of promoting universities online produces a speech genre that is highly patterned (when it comes to its morphosyntactic, stylistic, and compositional features); on the other hand, interdiscursive regularities show that the descriptive procedures at play mobilize an exogenous discourse that is ideological in nature (i.e., European political discourse on higher education and research) and therefore mirrors the changing sociopolitical context that the sampled institutions are embedded in. More globally, we suggest that a series of concepts originally developed by traditional continental (French) discourse analysis (dialogism, interdiscourse, communication situation, etc.) deserve to be read and re-invested in light of Peircean semiotics.

Keywords: Peircean semiotics; dialogism; speech genre; universe of discourse; discourse analysis; academic institution


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-07-15

Published in Print: 2015-10-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2015, Issue 207, Pages 551–565, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0042.

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