Socio-Cultural Reproduction Of The Territorial Economic System As A Semiotic Process


The problem of sustainable development of regions is urgent due to globalization, asymmetry and unevenness of the territorial development, deepening socio-economic gaps between the center and the periphery. The existing spatial economic structure can be improved and a fair model of inter-territorial economic relations can be created by improving socio-cultural interactions between the subjects of territorial development - the population, local and state authorities, entrepreneurs and investors. There is a socio-cultural gap between supporters of the ecosystem (inclusive, involving) and egocentric (extractive, extracting) approaches to the local economy rather than between representatives of the traditional (conservative) and market (liberal) structures. It determines the main contradiction of economic behavioral patterns in relation to territorial development. The supporters of the ecosystem approach strive to realize their goals and interests in such a way that the interests of other subjects are not infringed, and everyone gets new opportunities due to the emerging positive external effects, harmonization of relationships, and synergy. The activities of the supporters of the egocentric approach are subordinated to selfish goals and maximization of private benefits, aimed at the predatory siphoning of local natural, human, financial and other resources, while creating external costs for the local population and entrepreneurs.

Keywords: Territorial development, local economy, socio-cultural reproduction, semiotics


The starting point of the study of the economy is a person and his activities aimed at realizing his needs, dreams, and abilities. Economy cannot be comprehended if you transform its subject into an ordinary object. The economy manifests itself through the activities and relationships of people, products of their activities, acting as carriers, keepers and transmitters of vital information in the form of skills, knowledge, values, meanings, ethical norms and rules, beliefs, habits, traditions, narratives, etc. As part of the life of people and society, the economy can function and develop only in close and organic connections with culture, and the reproduction of the economy should be considered as a specific manifestation or a particular case of socio-cultural reproduction as a whole. The nature of economic changes can be comprehended only through the complex and multifaceted interaction of the material-material content of economic activities, social forms and meanings of material objects and economic processes. The integrating and supporting element is social and value-semantic aspects that determine the architectonics of the economy.

The development of territorial economic systems is inextricably linked with the processes of transformation of social ties in local communities, culture of people's behavior and their relationships, public consciousness, that is, the local socio-cultural environment. In these conditions, the territorial development should be studied in the context of fundamental systemic changes both in society and in local communities, which are reflected in the behavior of the population and affect social, spiritual, and economic aspects of society.

In any community where people are closely related to each other by common or interdependent interests and goals, are in a single communication space and constitute a certain integrity, there is a special semiotic environment appears, which is a hierarchy of codes that program the consciousness and behavior of people, creating meanings, defining goals and attitudes of people, including in the economic sphere. It forms collective mechanisms for maintaining the old cultural norms and ideas developing a new culture corresponding to other material, technical, social and economic conditions. This semiotic environment evolves during the interaction of various conditions and factors that are in a complex relationship with each other.

Diversity in the economic, social, natural, geographical and political conditions gives rise to differences in habits, worldviews and ideological concepts, thereby forming a multi-layered socio-cultural environment, which consists of various coexisting and competing local cultures or subcultures.

The growing gap in the social and economic position of the center and the periphery is largely due to the depravity of the socio-economic and political order, which prioritizes immeasurable and irresponsible egocentrism. This order ensures the legitimacy of domination of private and group interests over the general interests of the population, region and local territory, the immoral and inhuman economic, social and political behavior of this minority. Accordingly, the country and its regions are dominated by an extractive culture, which is permeated through with the desire for personal enrichment. It is opposed by the ecosystem culture, which is still weakly manifested at all levels. The features are the desire for a comprehensive arrangement of the territory, the growth of employment and incomes of the population, the development of industrial and social infrastructure, the intensification of economic, social and spiritual activities of the local population, the introduction of innovative and environmentally friendly technologies and advanced forms of organization, the formation of cooperation, clusters and other forms of partnership.

The study of economic processes in a socio-cultural context actualizes the need for interdisciplinary research that forms a fundamental scientific platform designed to integrate diverse studies. It is necessary to unite the efforts of scientists in order to better understand the problems of territorial development and ways to solve them as manifestations of socio-cultural processes and contradictions caused by the historical development of society and local territories, as well as geographical, natural and climatic, ethnic and many other features of the latter. Today, researchers studying various aspects of territorial development are characterized by significant disunity, a weakly expressed desire for mutual understanding, interaction and regular exchanges of scientific information, including breakthrough ideas, productive approaches and research methods, and the results obtained.

Problem Statement

Effective socio-economic development is possible only if the socio-cultural environment creates preconditions for a consensus on strategically important problems and mechanisms for their solution implemented by different social groups that have their own local cultures, capable of ensuring their mutual integration. These local cultures should be open to other cultures, forming social interaction that consolidates them on the basis of solidarity values ​​and common strategic attitudes that act as attractors of the development of society as a whole. ... Cultural values, social norms and rules are implicit elements of the economic system and basic regulators of economic activities that determine the general context of formation and application of formal institutions, as well as their semantic and goal-setting meanings.

Research Questions

In any society and local community, including their economic systems, sociocultural reproduction is due to the implementation of the functions of goal-setting, communication, adaptation, motivation, coordination and regulation, intergenerational transfer of social experience, knowledge and technology. The article studies the development of territorial economic complexes in the context of sociocultural reproduction is the subject of this study.

Purpose of the Study

By generalizing the achievements of sciences studying complex systems, information-communication and organizational phenomena and processes in these systems, this article concludes that it is necessary to develop an interdisciplinary conceptual scheme that forms an idea of ​​the socio-cultural and economic development of the territory as a single and integral reproductive process.

The purpose of this article is to substantiate the significance and prospects, both theoretical and practical, of using the semiotic approach to study the role of sociocultural factors in the formation of conditions for sustainable economic development of territories. Sociocultural reality can be represented as a set of interacting and intersecting sign systems carrying information and codes that form the program of actions of people and their coalitions.

Research Methods

The study is a synthesis of existing scientific knowledge of information and communication theory, general systems theory, semiotics, and synergetics. The empirical base of the study is author’s long-term observations of the socio-cultural dynamics in local territories and results of sociological surveys of the population conducted in eleven municipal districts and four small towns of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Chelyabinsk and Orenburg regions since the mid-1990s until now.


The idea of continuity of economic activities and sociocultural reproduction in society was developed by representatives of the German historical school (Hildebrand, 1860; Schmoller, 2012) and traditional institutionalism (Commons, 1934; Mitchell, 1969; North, 2010; Polanyi, 2010 Veblen, 1984) in economic science, social anthropology (Begelsdyk & Maseland, 2016; Malinovsky, 2004; Moss, 2011; Weber, 1990;), cross-cultural studies (Lebedeva & Tatarko, 2007).

Our research work is based on the results of these studies. It is also based on the concept of sociocultural dynamics suggested by Sorokin (1992). The community of people and joint human activity are a sociocultural phenomenon, since “the generic model of any sociocultural phenomenon is an interaction of two or more individuals. Interaction refers to any event by which one person influences actions or state of mind of another person. In the absence of such influence (one-sided or mutual), no socio-cultural phenomenon is possible." The sociocultural phenomenon is an indissoluble unity of three components, an “indissoluble triad”. Interpreting his formulation, Sorokin (1992) writes: The structure of sociocultural interaction has three aspects that are inseparable from each other: 1) personality as a subject of interaction; 2) society as a set of interacting individuals with its sociocultural relations and processes; and 3) culture as a set of meanings, values and norms, and a set of carriers that objectify, socialize and reveal these meanings. None of the members of this indivisible triad (personality, society and culture) can exist without the other two (p. 60).

Any territorial community is a special socio-cultural system, developing as a result of the interaction of “thinking, acting and reacting people”, regulated by stable (traditional) and changing (innovative) values and norms materialized in various tangible carriers.

The involvement of a person in the information and communication environment, which generates one a system of culturally determined norms, rules and motivational attitudes, that is, socialization, can be represented as a process of assimilation and interpretation of information received from the surrounding socio-cultural environment through communication, observation, joint activities and participation in various social processes. During his life, a person has to assimilate a lot of different special socio-cultural information, adapting his behavior to the values ​​and norms rooted in the life of various communities, structuring and regulating relationships within them.

In any community, a person always behaves in a certain way in order to consciously or intuitively show his attitude to the generally accepted values ​​and behavioral patterns. Thus, he informs society about his intentions. Society also responds to the information conveyed by human behavior.


When studying social phenomena and processes in the context of information theory and semiotics, it is very important to take into account the multi-layered nature of "texts" containing vital information or the complex multi-channel nature of semiotics of social behavior and social relationships. Comprehension of the surrounding social environment and adaptation to it as a learning process, as an information processing process presuppose the simultaneous involvement of a person in a variety of semiotic processes and the parallel use of various linear and nonlinear sign systems and communication channels. This idea was formulated by Polani (1998).

True goals and the meaning of actions in the economic sphere are often presented in economic relations in a veiled form. They are largely determined by the deep invisible layer of the socio-cultural environment in which economic relations are immersed. The values ​​and norms that make up this layer and are rooted in everyday economic life as habitual actions, thinking stereotypes, psychological attitudes and intuitive sensations of people are formed at the junction of conscious and unconscious types of thinking. These relationships, motives, goals and limitations constitute the basic life attitudes, implicitly transmitted from generation to generation, determining mutual obligations in the community and the way of life of its representatives (Barlybaev et al., 2009).

The same formalized norms and rules, interaction mechanisms, material objects can have different social character and economic performance, depending on the socio-cultural basic context. Cultural and moral background is of decisive importance in social and economic reality, which gives meaning to social and economic institutions and mechanisms.

Secondly, the perception and interpretation of sociocultural reality and actions differ. This is due to differences in social status, economic interests, functions, that is, the asymmetry in the economic, political, social, cultural, ethical and ideological spheres, which initially gives rise to contradictory expectations. Some people support these values, norms and behavior, while others find them unacceptable, or remain absolutely indifferent to them. In other words, socio-cultural reality is made up of various coexisting and competing local cultures, or subcultures.

The effective socio-economic development is possible only if the socio-cultural environment creates preconditions for a consensus on strategically important problems and mechanisms for their solution. These local cultures should be open to other cultures in order to contribute to the mutual penetration and mutual enrichment between them and harmonious development of the socio-cultural environment.

Thirdly, the consolidation of society based on the development and strengthening of common values, social norms and attitudes requires an effective mechanism to overcome various obstacles that distort information and cause the inevitability of its different interpretations. In information theory and semiotics, there are three groups of factors distorting information and, accordingly, three types of filters and three aspects ensuring reliability of semiotic channels. The first aspect - syntactics - is associated with the choice of a channel for obtaining information. The second aspect - semantics - is determined by the level of knowledge, which ensures the adequacy of perception of information being communicated, or mutual understanding between the parties to the information exchange. The third aspect - pragmatics - is the assessment of significance and usefulness of knowledge.


The study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan (project No. 19-410-020019 "Socio-cultural factors of economic development of territories").


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Nasyrov, G. M., Barlybaev, A. A., Barlybaev, A. A., Sitnova, I. A., & Yantilina, N. T. (2021). Socio-Cultural Reproduction Of The Territorial Economic System As A Semiotic Process. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2370-2375). European Publisher.