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Deinstitutionalising Society: Individual and Institution

It is important to raise the general question of the mutual definition of human nature and the nature of institutions which characterizes our world view and language.  Here Umberto Eco’s anthropological analysis suggests that if the term ‘culture’ is accepted in its correct anthropological sense, then we are immediately confronted with four elementary cultural phenomena.  Not only are they the consistent phenomena of every culture but they have been singled out as the objects of various semi-anthropological studies in order to show that the whole of culture is signification and communication.

Humanity and society exist only when communicative and significative relationships are established. In semiotics, a sign is “something that stands for something, to someone in some capacity”.  It may be understood as a discrete unit of meaning, and includes words, images, gestures, scents, tastes, textures, sounds – essentially all of the ways in which information can be communicated as a message by any sentient, reasoning mind to another. Read more