Dysfunctionality of Master Signifiers in the Georgian (Political) Discourse


  • Givi Amaglobeli


The aim of this paper is to identify, compare and analyze the basic master signifiers within the Georgian political discourse. We will try to construct some kind of a typology of master signifiers in relation with the concept of ideology/discourse, fitting them in the main political parties’ ideological grounds. We will also try to show that the concept of the Master Signifier can be employed while analyzing any type of political realm for practical purposes. Our main task will be the general typology of Master Signifiers, with a particular focus on the Georgian political-ideological realm. Together with the master signifier, the concept of empty signifier is also given in the literature. Accordingly, there are dysfunctional master signifiers, as well. Our goal is to focus on the dysfunctional signifiers and their importance in terms of meaning creation/cancelation. At the same time, the notion should be examined in the context of ideology/power relations. Moreover, it must be considered in relation with concepts like discursive strategy, narrative, metaphor.
We start with definition of the concept of Master signifier. In a very broad term, it can be defined as the main idea, the ideological basis for justifying a political behavior. The “master signifiers” define and limit the meanings of concepts and at the same time, they contain ideological views on how society should function. Master signifiers are unprovable, though guiding and justifying ideas of behavior. It is a collection of sublimated ideas. The function of the master signifier is to unify meanings and to derive a common, comprehensive and determinative final idea.