Field and Dynamic Nature of Sensemaking. Theoretical and Methodological Implications

  • Sergio Salvatore University of Salento, Italy
  • Claudia Venuleo University of Salento, Italy
Keywords: cultural psychology, semiotics, dynamic and semiotic model of meaning, social representations, significance in absentia


In this paper a dynamic and semiotic model of meaning (DSMM) is presented. According to it: a) meaning is the emergent product of a field dynamics; b) meaning consists of the way signs iteratively combine with each other in the local circumstances of communication; c) meaning is bivalent, i.e. it emerges from the iterative mutually constitutive tension between two components: an observable side, the Significance in Praesentia (SIP), namely the portion of the world used as sign, and a latent side, the Significance in Absentia (SIA), namely the pertinent gestalt of linkages among signs defining the condition of interpretability of the former. In the second part of the work some methodological implications of DSMM for the study of meaning are highlighted. In particular, emphasis is given to the wisdom of adopting a methodology being able to model the contingency and situativity of socio-symbolic phenomena.

Author Biographies

Sergio Salvatore, University of Salento, Italy

SERGIO SALVATORE is Professor of Dynamic Psychology at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy). His scientific interests regard the psychodynamic and semiotic theorization of mental phenomena and the methodology of analysis of psychological processes as field dependent dynamics. He also takes an interest in theory and analysis of psychological intervention in clinical, scholastic, organizational and social fields. On these issues he has designed and managed various scientific projects and published several volumes and more than 160 articles on Italian and international Journals. Co-editor of Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science and of Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome; Member of the Advisor Board of several peer-reviewed Journals.

Claudia Venuleo, University of Salento, Italy

CLAUDIA VENULEO is Researcher in Clinical Psychology at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy). Her clinical and research interests regard the role of meaning-making in the clinical psychology intervention, addressed to individuals, social and cultural groups, and the community, within a socio-constructivist and psychodynamic perspective. In particular her studies concern aspects related to the training in psychology and to the construction of professional identity. On these issues she has published about sixty scientific papers in national and international journals.