Foundation Myths: Religion, Political Theology, Radicalization

22 March 2022 | 11:00 — 13:00

FBK-ISR International Seminar 2022

Even if today they are used very widely in political and media discussion, the notions of “polarization” (and the underlying one of “radicalization”) of “religion” and “ethics” are highly problematic and discussed in the specialized literature, because their articulation is linked to social and discursive models peculiar to modern Western society. It is therefore necessary to analyze their semantic archeology. When did political division become “polarization” and why? What relationship do “religious” and “ethical” discourse have with this “polarization”? Are these discourses, when they are “radicalized” that produce “polarization” and therefore can they moderate it, if they come out of “radicalization”? Beyond the political debate, the semiotic method can allow us to better understand the premises of this ideological knot.

The “polarization”, according to the dominant point of view, would be the result of a technological determination, that is, the functioning model of social media. In reality, things are more complex: radical political and ideological oppositions are present throughout the course of modern society and have been expressed by many means of communication before and at the same time as the media. “Religion” is one of the themes of these divisions. The modern conception of “religion”, born around 1600, considers it as a sphere of meaning that should remain private, and thinks that it “radicalizes”, when it enters the public sphere, but this “Protestant” model does not correspond at all to that which occurs in other cultures. A non-ethnocentric analysis of the phenomena that we today call “religious” is necessary to clearly understand their impact on social life.

Scientific coordination
Massimo Leone, Director FBK-ISR


Cycle of seminars: “De-Polarization in Religion and Ethics


The event will be held in Italian

The presentation will take place online

To connect to the event, registration is required by Monday 21 March 2022 at 12.00 noon

During the meeting, the webcam and microphone will be disabled to avoid network overloads



Fresco by Schweitzer


  • Ugo Volli
    Guest Speaker
    Ugo Volli is honorary professor of "Semiotics of the text" and "Philosophy of Communication" at Turin University, where he directed, until his retirement, the Center for Research on Communication (CIRCe), and coordinated the PhD program in Semiotics and Media. He thought in a number of Italian and international universities, as Bologna, IULM, Brown U., Haifa, New York U. and was was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the New Bulgarian University. He is the editor in chief of “Lexia – Journal of semiotics” and is member of scientific boards of many international scientific journals. His last books are Periferie del senso (Aracne 2016), Il resto è commento (Belforte 2019), Discutere in nome del cielo (Guerini 2021), Mai più (Sonda 2022). His research deals with communication both from the theoretical point of view (Il libro della comunicazione, Il Saggiatore 1994; Manuale di semiotica, Laterza 2000 (translated also in German, Potuguese, and English) Laboratorio di semiotica, (Laterza 2005) and the practical one (Leggere il telegiornale, with Omar Calabrese, Laterza 1994; La Tv di culto, Sperling & Kupfer 2002, Semiotica delle pubblicità, Laterza 2003). Has worked longtime about fashion, theatre, body, advertising and desire theory: Contro la moda (Feltrinelli 1988), Una scrittura del corpo (Stampa alternativa 1998), Fascino (Feltrinelli 1997), Block modes (Lupetti, 1998) Figure del desiderio (Raffaello Cortina, 2002). Other fields of work are political communication (Come leggere il telegiornale (Laterza 1995); Il televoto (Franco Angeli 1997) Personalizzazione e distacco (Franco Angeli 2000)), the filosophy of language as reflection on the subjective and historical side of language experience (Apologia del silenzio imperfetto (Feltrinelli 1991); Lezioni di filosofia della comunicazione (Laterza 2008)); Parole in gioco (Stampatori 2010). His main focus in the last years is semiotics of religious text (Domande alla Torah, L'Epos 2012; Il resto è commento (Belforte 2019); images and iconism theory (Donne di casa Boschi, (Skirà 2020), general semiotic theory (Periferie del senso, Aracne 2016). He use to collaborate with several newspapers, radio and television stations and websites and has worked as a consultant for communication for many companies and Italian and foreign institutions.


Registration to this event is mandatory.

Registration closed on 21/03/2022.


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