Tomaselli, Keyan G.
Teer-Tomaselli, Ruth Elizabeth.
Ballot, Jane Jennifer.
Holt, Alexander Robert.
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Semiotics, deconstructionism, structuralism and postmodernism are words which lurk on boundaries of the consciousness of most of us. But they remain shadowy presences except on the rare occasions when we need to wrestle out of them an explanation of just what they are all about. In this issue of Trends we grapple with one of them, semiotics. C. S. Peirce, the American, pragmatist philosopher who coined the term, saw semiotics as a 'method of methods', useful in many disciplines to clarify their own theory and practice. Everyone uses signs and symbols. Everyone thinks they know the meanings of the signs and symbols they use. But why do they have meanings? Where do the meanings come from? Why are the signs and symbols used by one person or group so frequently misinterpreted by others? Semiotics may seem esoteric, but its interests are central to all communication. Consequently all communicators should be concerned with at least some of the problems dealt with semioticians. To guide us on our exploration of semiotics the publishers of Trends, the Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture, have enlisted the aid of Professor Keyan Tomaselli and his colleagues at the Centre for Cultural and Media Studies of the University of Natal, who for some years have been studying the cultural side of semiotics. So eager has their response been that we have devoted two issues of Trends to their reports. The contents of these two issues manifest the views of the authors more than is usual for Trends, and they are not necessarily those of the editors; but the CSCC feels that the perspective of the CCMS deserves both expression and discussion.