1. The study of signifying practices in specific sociocultural contexts. Saussure wrote of semiotics as ‘a science that studies the life of signs within society’, but social semiotics reverses the structuralist priorities regarding langue and parole. Signs do not exist without interpreters, and semiotic codes are social conventions.
2. The semiotic analysis of social codes and phenomena (e.g. nonverbal communication) as distinguished from the textual analysis of textual codes.