Semantic and discursive construction of the “Europe of knowledge”
My aim in this article is to examine two types of discourse features, through a semantic analysis of the occurrences of the word <i>university</i> in the Preamble to the Magna Charta Universitatum of Bologna. I will firstly look at extra-linguistic phenomena, in particular the discursive elaboration of the identity of European society, and then focus on linguistic elements, which involve rebuilding the lexical meaning in and by discursive mechanisms.This last aspect is examined through an argumentative approach, namely the Semantics of Argumentative Potentials (SAP). The form of SAP proposed is a holistic, associative and encyclopedic approach to lexical meaning capable of explaining both the “perceived” and “modeled” representations of the world created by language and the discursive potential of words (i.e. the argumentative sequences that they authorize). This approach can also be used to explain the “stable” and evolutionary parts of meaning (stereotypes).