Call for Papers



“Heritage, Law and Discourse: A Triadic Dimension in Protection, Regulation & Identity”

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

Guest Editors: Anne Wagner & Cheng Le

The past four decades has witnessed the remarkable extension of enthusiasm in cultural

heritage or property from the perspective of international laws, or international legal

framework as the multilevel legal instruments for safeguarding, protection and maintenance

of cultural heritage, property, or rights. In our project, the identification of “Heritage” employs

specific discourses, codes, transcending values, and images that conceal assumption about

members of a people comprising a people within a nation. Heritage narrates constructions of

belongings that become tethered to negotiations for power and resistance over time and

throughout a people’s history leading to powerful discursive narratives. While such likeness

may be preserved, conserved or even perpetuated, the idea of “Heritage” may be socially,

politically, culturally, and historically contested to reveal competing pasts, presents, and

futures, esp. with innovation in arts leading to new social norms and identities.

Besides, the visual decoding of heritage is evocative and ideologically representative with

meanings that prescribe a story of Protection, Regulation and Identity, since these meanings

are subject to multiple interpretations and reinterpretations related to Rights, among the

integrity of heritage right and human rights, and the integrated framework of right in rem and

right in personae. Yet, through semiotic accumulation, evolution and confrontation, there may

be different interdisciplinary paths leading to different truths, to tensions (contestation

and/or negotiation), and applications of significance. We should then investigate these

transmitted values, discourses over time and space.

We should therefore investigate these transmitted values under various perspectives

(amongst others but not limited):

- How to transmit Heritage and which values are being transmitted?

- How are the narratives created?

- Is there a social stratification in transmitting, preserving and conserving Heritage?

- What are the cognitive and symbolic aspects of Heritage through different temporal

parameters? Is there a shift in cultural and/or collective meaning from one space to


- What are the sources?

- What is the relationship between law and “heritage” (tangible or intangible elements)

in visual representations?

- What is the shared collective and/or cultural memory beyond this visual


- How Heritage is connected to the preservation and conservation of a people’s


- How Heritage is interpreted within legal settings or international legal framework from

temporality and spatiality?

- What are the interactions between cultural heritage and human rights within the

diversity and tolerance within socio-legal contexts?

Considering the complexity and diversity in the building of a common memory or discourse

community through tangible and intangible cultural heritage, we would suggest our

contributors interrogate the complex sign system of a particular country or region and their

meanings attentive to a complex configuration of historical, social and cultural conditions that

shift over time and space.

Keywords: Heritage, Sign System, Law, Discourse Narratives, Conservation, Preservation.

Please send your proposal to Anne WAGNER ( by late April 2020