Evolution of Culture and the History of the Media


Guido Ipsen, Department of Languages, Semiotics Section, University of Kassel, Germany


This paper offers the concept of historical media semiotics as a means of analysing the evolution of culture and the history of the media as one semiosic sphere where technological innovation, sign potential and the communicative needs of a culture evolve in a joint process. Whereas media history is commonly regarded as a chain of technological developments by media studies, namely a historicity reaching from the most primitive forms of communication to the digital media of the so-called postmodern age interrupted by rifts of innovation, historical media semiotics must then regard media history as a semiosic continuum where the focus is on the evolution of thought in culture, that is, the interpretant, of which the media technologies only serve as carrying devices playing out on the level of the representamen.

Full paper (pdf)
Full paper (html)