The “Semiotic Animal” in Roland Barthes: A Reflection on Calculating the Self as “Difference in Man”

Seema K Ladsaria1 & Rajni Singh2

 1Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT (ISM) Dhanbad. ORCID: 2Associate Professor of English, Deptt. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. ORCID: Email:

 Volume 8, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v8n3.04

Received May 30, 2016; Revised June 27, 2016; Accepted July 15, 2016; Published August 18, 2016


The animal metaphor in poststructuralists thinkers like Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, offers an understanding into the human self through the relational modes of being and co-being. The present study focuses on the concept of “semiotic animal” proposed by John Deely with reference to Roland Barthes. Human beings are often considered as “rational animal” (Descartes) capable of reason and thinking. By analyzing the “semiotic animal” in Roland Barthes, the intention is to study him as a “mind-dependent” being who discovers the contrast between ens reale and ens rationis through his writing. For Barthes “it is the intimate which seeks utterance” in one and makes “it cry, heard, confronting generality, confronting science.” Roland Barthes attempts to read “his body” from the “tissues of signs” that is driven by the unconscious desires. The study is an attempt to explore the semiological underpinnings in Barthes which are found in the form of rhetorical tropes of cats and dogs and the way he relates it with the ‘self’.

Keywords: Semiotic animal, Roland Barthes, rational animal.

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Google Plus