I wanted to get a conversation going on semiotics and wasn't sure the best way to do it. So I thought I would suggest the first thing I thought of. If it goes nowhere, so be it.
I am a big fan of Peirce, though semiotics the world over is still largely associated with the work of Saussure, no doubt because of his influence on Levi-Strauss, Barthes and Greimas. In my recent interactions with French and English sociologists and geographers, 'semiotics' tends to mean, primarily, that everything is relational. I gather this springs from the recent re-popularization of semiotics through Actor-Network-Theory.
Now, the consequence of this is that many of those anthropologists interested in Peirce, I am thinking in particular of Webb Keane or linguistic anthropologists like Michael Silverstein, tend to introduce the importance of his contribution in contradistinction to that of Saussure. It may have been Roman Jakobson
who began this tradition.
I find this to be a rather unfortunate state of affairs. On the one hand, it limits the debate that ought to be had about what semiotics is all about. And it leaves out others, such as Vygotsky, Lotman, Uexkull, and Voloshinov, to name a few, who might broaden this debate.
I am wrong to see this as a problem? Or have I diagnosed the problem incorrectly from the start? How should a semiotic anthropology move forward?