Democracy, Polis and Parasite in Communication

Charalampos Magoulas


Communication, as a social activity existing in and comprising almost any human action, cannot take place but as a mediated performance, given that it consists in the triadic relation between transmitter, message and receiver. Its goal is always the transmission of a message with the highest possible coherence and, at the same time, its simultaneous comprehension with the less possible deterioration of its original meaning. A basic assumption is that a potential difficulty in everyday communication is due for the most part to the existence of one or more parasites, which could be detected either in external factors or in the message itself. The question is whether a parasite could live in the signifier of a word and thus determine or alter its signified during an act of communication. This paper aims at exploring Serres’ view on parasite and attempting to identify its existence and function within the signifier of words we use in everyday life. To that end the terms of “democracy” and “polis” will be used as examples of hosts of parasites.

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