Keynote Speakers – Isabella Pezzini

Full Professor of Philosophy and Theory of languages at the Sa¬pienza University of Rome, where she teaches semiotics. President of FeDroS (Féderation romane de Sémiotique). Her research concerns general semiotics and semiotics of culture in relation to the theories of languages, phi-losophy, and aesthetics. Recently, she edited: Usi e piaceri del turismo (with l. Virgolin) (Rome, 2020), Dallo spazio alla città. Letture e fondamenti di semiotica ur¬bana (with R. Finocchi) (Milan-Udine, 2010) and La moda fra senso e cambiamento (with B. Terracciano, Milan-Udine, 2020).

Trajectories of Identity, Difference, Otherness


In this lecture, I propose to reflect on the declinations of the conceptual pair of identity/difference. Placed in semiotics at the basis of the apperception of meaning since Saussure and hypostatized by the critics of structuralism as the dualistic and static theoretical vision, it was instead interpreted in a dynamic way, as the core of transformation, by Greimas, primarily through the semiotic square. In the semiotics of culture of J. M. Lotman, moreover, difference, understood as emerging diversity was conceived as a fundamental resource both for self-identification and for cultural evolution. Paul Ricoeur’s idea of narrative identity also dynamically incorporates otherness. Yet, in the contemporary world, dominated by a marketing-oriented vision and by the spectre of loss of identity, the latter is made to coincide, in the most diverse fields, with the exclusivity of difference, which places the other not only as a competitor but as an enemy, returning to a mythical, oppositional vision of Us and Them, Ours and Others. Hence the danger of degeneration of the concept of identity, which is less and less seen as dynamic and instead is established as a ‘fortress’, in an obsession with the ‘logo’ that is sometimes obtusely an end in itself.

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