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Signs of Europe

Thessaloniki, Greece, 1-3 November 2019


Organized by the Hellenic Semiotic Society

and the School of French Language and Literature

of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki


Since antiquity Europe is not so much a place as an idea, a myth, an imagination, a sign. Variously conceived and represented throughout the centuries by scholars, politicians, artists and travellers, and home to the most radical forms both of particularism and universalism, exceptionalism and cosmopolitanism, Europe has been consistently challenged by diverse kinds of fragmentation, hegemonic expansionism, antagonism and contestation, as well as by the recurring question of its identity. The European integration project has been widely perceived as a watershed in the tumultuous history of Europe, offering an internationally unique experiment in transnational governance and cooperation. However, the European integration narratives of reconciliation, solidarity and ‘unity-in-diversity’ have proved inadequate and controversial. They were contested both from without, by geopolitical visions such as the Global South, and from within, especially during the recent crisis of the eurozone, of Brexit and of migration. Their survival, in the face of the ensuing wave of illiberalism, populism, nationalism and nativism across Europe, is becoming more and more uncertain.

Since their inception, in 1979, the International Conferences of the Hellenic Semiotic Society, have addressed topics directly relevant to the concerns and challenges of the day. True to this tradition, this particular Conference aims to reaffirm the importance of semiotics as an analytical-critical approach to socio-cultural phenomena, and encourage the investigation and understanding of the semiotic work and practices involved in both the making and the current unmaking of the European integration project.


The Conference invites proposals for individual papers (15-20 minutes long) or panels (incl. 3-4 individual papers) that relate to the following main themes:

I. EU symbolic discourse and practices: the making of EU-identity through the diverse symbols, discourses, practices, media and branding strategies developed by EU-related institutions.

II. Unmaking the European integration project: investigation of the recently revitalized semiotic orders of nationalism and nativism, illiberalism and populism, as well as the related phenomena of xenophobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism, counter-terrorist rhetoric etc, across the different genres of political, cultural and media communication

III. Images, Sounds and Narratives of Europe: investigation of all kinds of contemporary cultural texts that variously deal with the failures and contradictions, envisionings and identity of Europe, as well as emerging narratives, imaginaries and concepts that attempt to re-define the ‘old continent’ and perform a ‘post-crisis Europe’.

IX. Under Western and Non-Western Eyes: the semiotic construction and/or deconstruction of European Union from the perspective of non-member states, whether in the Western or non-Western world.


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For any further questions regarding the 2019hellenic-semiotics please contact.

T. +30 2310 433099
F. +30 2310 433599


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