Sign Dramatization on the Inauguration Day: a Cognitive Semiotic Approach to 2021 US Inauguration Day


  • Naser AlBzour AABU



critical discourse analysis, critical semiotics, Donald Trump, sign dramatization, Joe Biden, sign interaction, Peirce, Petrilli, triadic model.



This study is an attempt to explore the critical semiotic aspects of the overall American Inauguration Day in January 2021. This complicated and eventful day was one of the most remarkable scenes in the history of the united states for many socio-cultural and socio-political factors that can operate and interact beyond the scope of critical discourse analysis proper;  therefore, the researcher pays credit to Genosko (2016) critical semiotic approach to encompass and absorb all the verbal and nonverbal signs as crucially needed and implemented in this study in order to rationalize the major indications and implications of those dramatic scenes since the dawn of that day till the end of the inauguration party. Hence, this study sheds light on the sociopolitical background of the Inauguration Day so that a myriad of critical signs can be properly and comprehensively contextualized and thus understood in light of the basic foundations of the triadic model proposed by Peirce (1931-1958) and the way it has been extrapolated in accordance with semioethics by Randviir (2004) and Petrilli (2014) in terms of human responsibilty. The researcher has found that the sign dramatization on that memorable day was purposefully and cleverly knitted to serve a number of critical semiotic functions that had great sociopolitical effects on American politicians, American citizens and all spectators worldwide. The researcher has specifically identified and analyzed five major scenes; the overall scenes successfully employed a huge number of interacting verbal, auditory and visual signs as manifested during the live coverage, the Washington Post commentaries, CNN  broadcasting, songs as well as Biden’s Inauguration Address. Such synergic aspects of these components were interwoven by the media and by the democrats in a way that demonized Donald Trump and glorified Biden’s propaganda and/or perception of the American ideals envisaged in legal and ethical responsibilities.

Keywords: critical discourse analysis, critical semiotics, Donald Trump, sign dramatization, Joe Biden, sign interaction, Peirce, Petrilli, triadic model.




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