International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 307-320

First online:

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War as an Institutional Fact: Semiotics and Institutional Legal Theory


In institutional legal theory, norms and facts are reciprocally operating elements: an interplay in which meaning construction is closely connected with acting: the pragmatic understanding of legal language in terms of its uses. With the semiotic elements of institutional theory, extended by the notion of ‘semiotic groups’, an analytical framework can be constructed to analyze a case study on the shifts in the concept of war which have taken place since the 1945 UN Charter and in the aftermath of 9/11. The semiotic aspects of the institutional approach can offer insight into the complexity of the processes of meaning attribution in the field of law and war.