Urban Peripheries in Europe and the Construction of New Semantic Spaces

Author Information

Cinzia Colaiuda,
University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy

DOI: 10.47298/comela22.5-8
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in the Mediterranean and Europe 2022


Urban peripheries can be defined as a ‘semiosphere’ (Lotman 1990) in which the construction of a new idea of social integration through the use of bottom-up approaches to public policies and the implicit recognition of the new linguistic communities that populate these public policies becomes possible.

This article concerns ethnographic research that focuses on the analysis of urban linguistic landscapes in Europe. As such, the article has two aims. In its first aim, it proposes a reflection of the impact of public policies on the linguistic architecture of the urban centres of the two cities, Rome and London, two urban centres where social diversity often hides behind linguistic homogeneity and social norms imposed from above. In its second aim, it analyses the role that the periphery can play in initiating a revolution from below, largely owing to its cityscape, characterized by linguistic anarchy and hybridisation processes regulated by endogenous social laws. Moreover, this research – starting from the elicitation of the theoretical assumptions on which it is based – underlines the need for a holistic approach to the analysis of complex social ecosystems and the multiple signs that characterise them.

Keywords: Ethnography, linguistic anthropology, London, Rome, semiosphere


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