It struck me recently that one of the most important building blocks in KM, for me, is the theory of meta-semiotics.

So here is the summary:

Signs: by definition, they can be used to lie (Eco). Every use becomes a sign of itself (Barthes).

A text is a set of signs that leaves traces, in the body, on the body, in the mind, in dreams, in material and in virtual spaces.

A discourse is a system of signs and alliances that orders texts and bodies, animate and inanimate, within a discourse community.

Semiotics: The abstraction and contingency of semiotics enables us not only to ‘name’ things, but also to hypothesize new things and new relations between things. It also, importantly, allows us to project power—in the simple act of naming and, further, in interpolating, instructing, commanding, disciplining, and so on, on a continuous spectrum from language to laserguided missiles. This is the semiotics of power as well as the semiotics of group cohesion and identity.

Meta-semiotics: a further layer of abstraction: the commodification of knowledge and information, in science, money, bureaucracy, and representative democracy. Meta-semiotics generally transcribes meaning and value into numerical and mathematical forms.

Subjects and Objects: The commodification of meta-semiotics strips out subjectivity and context, in order to achieve transfer, sharing, trade, and capital formation. Meta-semiotics is the most powerful semiotic, and it is implicated in all of the most powerful discourses.

Semiotics and Power:
Semiotics is always already constituted at the level of discourse, and is therefore not, primarily, constituted ‘upwards’ from the level of signs or objects. Instead, the social (at discourse level) delves ‘down’ into the powerfully ‘cutting’ articulations of the digital and arbitrary sign, and reconstitutes itself in new relations of power, ‘cut’ not only differently, but with powerfully new ‘instruments for cutting’.

And here is the full article (Theory and Psychology, 15:5, pp. 711-737) ...