Semiotics and Marxism
Zhang Bi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Giorgio Borrelli (email@example.com)
One of the main points advanced by the Marxian critique of political economy concerns what Marx called the "fetishism of merchandise": exchange does not occur among commodities but among human beings. Only by studying human communication relations is it possibile to understand the "language" of commodies. Therefore, the Marxian orientation is a specifically semiotic orientation. This is the orientation that needs to be developed today when focusing on the problem of the relation between "semiotics and Marxism".
If we accept the premise that Marx may be considered a "cryptosemiotician," to evoke a term introduced by Thomas A. Sebeok, what then are the characteristics of Marx's semiotics and what have been its developments on the historical and theoretical levels in the world? Marxian semiotics is not a question of applying Marxism to semiotics, but rather of determining methods, fields and objects of scientific research as indicated by scholars like Adam Schaff, André Gorz, Jeff Bernard, Augusto Ponzio, Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, and Georg Klaus. The latter two in particular developed their approach to the study of signs with reference to the semiotics of Charles Morris, author of Signification and Significance (1964).