Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Logocentism involves the belief that sounds in speech are simply a representation of meanings that are present in the consciousness of the speaker.

explanatory context

Semiologists are opposed to logocentrism.

analytical review

Scott (2002) wrote:

"Logocentrism" is the attitude that logos (the Greek term for speech, thought, law, or reason) is the central principle of language and philosophy.1 Logocentrism is the view that speech, and not writing, is central to language. ....

According to logocentrist theory, speech is the original signifier of meaning, and the written word is derived from the spoken word. The written word is thus a representation of the spoken word. Logocentrism asserts that language originates as a process of thought that produces speech, and it asserts that speech produces writing.

Logocentrism is promoted by the theory that a linguistic sign consists of a signifier which derives its meaning from a signified idea or concept. Logocentrism asserts the exteriority of the signifier to the signified. Writing is conceptualized as exterior to speech, and speech is conceptualized as exterior to thought. However, if writing is only a representation of speech, then writing is only a "signifier of a signifier." Thus, according to logocentrist theory, writing is merely a derivative form of language that draws its meaning from speech. The importance of speech as central to the development of language is emphasized by logocentrist theory, but the importance of writing is marginalized.2

associated issues


related areas

See also

Researching the Real World Section 5


Scott, A., 2002, 'Derrida’s Of Grammatology', available at, accessed 25 January 2013, still available 9 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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