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Pertti Ahonen “Semiotics of Politics”

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Ahonen, Pertti 1990. Semiotics of Politics. – Koch, Walter A. (ed). Semiotics in the Individual Sciences, Part 2. Bochum: N. Brockmeyer: 583-618.

The theory we apply leads us to study (a) the fundamental meaning of politics as a system arising on the basis of differences between elements of meaning; (b) the creation of the subjects of politics when the fundamental meaning of politics is “invested” in these subjects and their action; and (c) the way the meaning of politics is further enriched culturally and historically with the introduction of concrete actors, space, time, themes, and figures; and, finally (d) how certain effects of the generation of meaning accomplish an impression of a political “reality”. (583)

Our conception implies a “genetic” prima facie primacy of the economy vis-à-vis a reactive role of culture and politics and the primacy of culture vis-à-vis a reactive role of politics. (584)

Let us assume that the core of politics is the use of physical force, which may entail the taking of the life of a person; but mere force alone does not provide for a definition of politics, as an order based on mere force remains very uncertain as well as devoid of meaning. This brings in the question of the legitimation of the actual and the potential use of physical force. (585)

First, the dependence of “immanent” political action on “transcendental” processes of political exchange and communication “persuades” any political subject proper to engage in “contracts” with sender and receiver subjects. […] Second, each political subject has an “antisubject”, and the contrary “programs” which the two subjects execute are symmetrical. Third, the intentionality of the political subject constituted on the basis of its “contract” consists of a constant quest, a struggle and a polemic for removing deficiency or lack which is constantly reproduced; politics thus entails struggle, but “constituted” struggle. (586)

[…] there is a hierarchy from more discursive to less discursive layers of the competence from international treaties to arsenals and hence from more to less power in accomplishing reality, and that an analogous reality is present in the actual use of physical force from the fairly discursive counterespionage to the least discursive automatic reactions, say, to images of a presumed enemy on a radar screen. (591)

The exchange and the communication are also the source of the criteria which lay the basis for the evaluation of, and the sanctions towards, the actors’ action. (591)

The end of political strife and struggle would presuppose the utopia of an end to political subjects, the end to anti-subjects, the end to social conflict, the end to the state and to politics, and the end to all psychic conflict related to politics. (Marx) (596)

The physical force is the least capable of accomplishing political reality qua reality despite its being in a given sense the most “real” part of politics. (599)