New Forms of Knowledge, of Social Relations, and of Economic Value in the Age of the Internet
Ivan Kasabov, New Bulgarian University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
George Tsonev, New Bulgarian University (email@example.com)
This Round table is result of a project application. Our point of departure is the fact that during the last 20 years Internet has brought a deep change into the way people acquire and use knowledge, the way people manage their social relations and the way economic value is generated and exchanged. All these changes reflect the process of economic and information globalization, promoted by the giant multinational companies, with the efficacy of the free market. At the same time knowledge, creativity and innovation are among the most important parameters of the contemporary developed societies and their notion of welfare. We believe that in the framework of semiotics the academic environment could be an incubator of all these elements, and a proper interaction between scholars, students and external companies can valorize it and export it for the public interest. For this reason, we expect contribution from scholars with different background, on major themes as:
- New forms of cognition after the advent of the internet;
- Reading, writing and learning in digital culture;
- New forms of scientific communities;
- Text, discourse and narrative in the interactive communications;
- Digital humanities;
- New forms of social relations after the advent of social media;
- Creativity, technology and the market of experience;
- Signs and economic value;
- New forms of consumption of the symbolic value of brands;
- Rituals of consumption in Facebook;
- The market of the social causes in digital environment;
1) César Augusto Cristancho Duarte, Universidad Industrial de Santander (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Representaciones del yo de los estudiantes de la Universidad Industrial (uis) de Santander en las interacciones sociales mediadas por Facebook
El Facebook es una herramienta fundamental en las prácticas culturales contemporáneas y permite a los individuos interactuar de manera efectiva con la ayuda de un código multimodal con rasgos característicos de la oralidad y la escritura modificados. En este escenario, los cibernautas configuran imágenes de sí mismos en la interacción con los otros para ser aceptados en círculos digitales de amigos. Asimismo, en el entorno sociocultural de la UIS se encuentra un buen número de estudiantes imbuidos en estas prácticas sociales donde exponen sus ideales, ideologías y pensamientos en las interacciones con los demás. Aquí surge entonces una pregunta problema y directriz de esta pesquisa: ¿cómo se representa el yo de los estudiantes de la Universidad Industrial de Santander en las interacciones sociales mediadas por Facebook?
Para responder a esta pregunta, se afirma que el Facebook constituye una manera de conocimiento susceptible de ser analizado desde la Semiótica. En esta investigación, se seleccionaron perfiles potenciales de estudiantes UIS en grupos de Facebook. Para este análisis, se ubica el objeto de estudio en los diversos niveles de pertinencia expuestos por Fontanille (2007) a saber, signos, textos enunciados, objetos soporte, escenas predicativas, estrategias de comunicación, cultura y formas de vida. Cada nivel de pertinencia es explicitado cuando sea necesario, por las niveles de análisis de la Escuela Intersemiótica de París: figurativo, semi-narrativo y axiológico. Otras teorías son utilizadas para enriquecer este análisis, a saber, postulados semióticos de Lotman, Peirce, Landowski y Goffman.
Finalmente, por medio de este proyecto, se obtiene como resultado parcial que Facebook se presenta como un nuevo espacio de interacción social y se convierte en una plataforma flexible, dado que el individuo puede construir una imagen inventada de sí mismo (Kauffman, 2004), corrigiendo sus defectos e idealizando sus virtudes o apropiándose de valoraciones positivas o negativas, incluso mostrando un yo diametralmente opuesto a sí, provocador e inaceptable socialmente, solo para alcanzar metas de aceptación por parte de un determinado sector de los interlocutores. Verbigracia, los estudiantes analizados construyen en Facebook una imagen controvertida y divergente al imaginario construido en interacciones cara a cara, mostrando un yo comprometido político y socialmente con las situaciones actuales a través de textos hipermedia : el paro agrario, las elecciones presidenciales, los problemas educativos, con el fin de crear impacto en los demás cibernautas quienes marcan las pautas y definen los límites en los cuales el estudiante puede hacer encajar esas máscaras identitarias, es decir, el individuo construye su identidad o identidades a partir de sí mismo pero moldeado y permeado por un colectivo.
César Augusto Cristancho Duarte: Licenciado en español y literatura, estudiante de la XII cohorte de la Maestría en Semiótica de la Universidad Industrial de Santander, quien presenta esta propuesta de investigación con el propósito de desarrollarla en el marco sus estudios de maestría para así obtener el título de magister de este programa de posgrado. Correo electrónico: email@example.com
2) Irene Psomiadou and Anastasia Christodoulou
Internet Memes and Self Identification in the Gaming World. A case study of World of Warcraft.
The incredible growth of the Internet over the last decade has rendered it an integral part of our lives. New social phenomena are continuously rising , creating new fields and behaviors that change the ways of communication as we know it. Internet memes are a new way of expressing oneself, in a creative way, by altering the content of a message through a steady concept. The gaming communities seem to embrace this new form of interactivity, by using them, in order to state certain emotional situations.
The purpose of this paper was to explain (a) the need for identification through experiences expressed in internet memes, in online gaming communities and (b) the way these internet memes are structured and consumed by players.
This was investigated through a sociosemiotic approach and specifically concerned experiences shared by the most popular massive multiplayer online role- playing game (mmorpg) World of Warcraft (WoW) players, through internet memes, as found in the most common social media groups.
The research focused on how players express their moments inside the game and how they chose to create an internet meme, in order to share it with other players and furthermore, how the latter not only identified themselves with the situations expressed in these memes, but also how they chose to alternate them in order to create new ones.
For this purpose, we semiotically analyzed ten internet memes that we found in the most common online social gaming groups and specifically image messages in English, that distinctively express different kind of emotions and we studied the reaction of five players of the European Server Silvermoon in order to see how they decoded them and what elements connected their experiences with the ones the original creator wanted to share.
The results occurred from the answers of players and vary according to the time spent inside the game and the level of their in game character.
3) Paolo Rocchi, IBM, LUISS University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MATHEMATICAL SEMIOTICS: A CHALLENGING MEETING PLACE
Semiotics provides fundamental contribution to illuminate the present ‘information revolution’, however a certain divide seems to separate semioticians from experts of digital technology. In the past centuries separation occurred between philosophers and experimentalists also in other important scientific fields, and later their positions got closer. This paper holds that the stances of semioticians and electronic engineers could approximate through the ‘mathematical semiotics’ that is the translation of some semiotic concepts with the mathematical language.
The present pages offer a case study to clarify this innovative approach. The notion of signifier is defined in formal terms and it is discussed how this definition can justify the roots of the digital and analog technologies.
4) Yagodina Manova, PhD Candidate, New Bulgarian University
The impact of students’ creativity on building a successful marketing communication of a brand in social media
The influence of social media marketing is increasing and the marketing departments now plan it as an important part of their integrated marketing communication. The focus of the online communication is not only on the corporate website but also on the brand presence in social media (primarily in Facebook and YouTube but also in Twitter and Pinterest). At the same time it is a relatively new communication channel and the marketing experts are still gaining expertise in the field. Moreover the marketing departments have so many tasks that there is a great danger of underestimating the seriousness of building the brand image in social media. These are only few of the reasons why most of the companies outsource the online communication to freelancers or digital agencies.
At the same time students could be a valuable source for the companies. They have theoretical background but their creativity is not limited to the corporate guidelines and standards. Even if the students do not have any experience in the marketing field, they are open-minded and could come up with successful solutions. Besides most of the students are heavy users of social media in contrast to the marketing experts who consider social media as a “job task”. This could be a great opportunity for the students to gain experience and to practice what they have learned. This will give them an advantage when they apply for marketing positions and will help them in their future work as advertising experts.
Although this partnership could be really useful and valuable for both sides, there is a great deal of challenges and milestones that should be faced. The companies could be disappointed if they receive creative ideas that do not match their expectations, whereas students could be discouraged if they do not see the implementation of their ideas. The success of this project depends on the clear methodology – a set of methods of work and rules for both parties. The concept of building an online platform for cooperation with clear briefs and instructions for both parties is part of the project which I will present.
5) Ivan Kassabov, New Bulgarian University
Toward systematization of basic semiotic disciplines
Every single sign could be considered in terms of its form, in terms of its existence and in terms of its significance. The well-known Peircean signs’ division into three trichotomies and three correlations with reference to 3 types of signs in their 3 correlations (Cf. Peirce 1998: 296) can be jointly presented in one matrix. A similar nine-box matrix – named as the semiotic nonagon – has been elaborated (especially for the sign treatment of color) by Claudio Guerri (2003; 2007: 91-98). This matrix illustrates clearly the three types of sign existence, namely: of imaginary form, of actual existence and of symbolic values – each intersecting with three correlates (theoretical possibility, economical praxis and cultural strategy). Thus, we have to single out three interconnected but different levels of sign existence: of theoretical form (as architectonics or theory of sign possibility), of actual existence (as praxis), and of socio-cultural values (as knowledge or sign-language competence). Following Peirce’s famous Classification of Signs, the proposed matrix scheme allows for a more detailed study of the relationship between the components of the sign. Each of the matrix sub-signs (items from 1 to 9) can be tripled (as iconic sign, sign-index and sign-symbol) and thus obtaining (9 x 3 =) 27 sign possibilities and their corresponding types of values and their significance and meanings in the detailed and complicated matrix representing the semiotic model of sign with 27 positions.
Based on this matrix, representing the semantic model of the sign to its possible, actual, and real existence, it appears appropriate to propose a particular kind of distribution for semiotic disciplines in the respective positions. First of all, here proposed systematic distribution does not contradict with Morrisean three axes of semiotics (syntactic, semantic and pragmatic). Moreover, this systematization allows to indicate in sufficient clarity the specific levels of basic theoretical (general), applied (particular) and cultural semiotic research, illustrated as predominantly developed by the main semiotic theories such as: Saussurean structuralism, Hjelmslevian glossematics, the Prague circle, Jacobson's ideas, and even Greimassian school, structuralism of Levi-Strauss and Tartu semiotics of culture in their interrelationships.
6. Katia Alves, UQÀM
Les vitrines, figures d’un discours cinématographique
Les vitrines comme espace-lieu de « représentation » dans l’imaginaire contemporain. À partir du concept moderne de l’urbanisation de Paris et du besoin d’attirer une « nouvelle clientèle», les bourgeois, qui étaient en quête de s’affirmer socialement et économiquement, Paris offre pendant les expos universelles de la fin du XIXe siècle toute une gamme de divertissements nouveaux. Pour cela il y a un besoin de développer le commerce et de créer, en parallèle, une nouvelle organisation spatiale de la ville. Avec les grands magasins qui offrent toute une gamme de produits et qui se cherchent de nouveaux clients, on va faire appel à la créativité de la publicité et même – pourquoi pas? – de l’art. Dans cette perspective, les vitrines, ce tout nouveau dispositif, sont comme des fenêtres sur un nouveau monde, offrant de nouvelles sensations aux observateurs-spectateurs: ils évoluent désormais dans un monde de représentations.
Les vitrines n’ont pas uniquement une vocation commerciale, elles représentent une nouvelle suggestion de l'objet. Comme les surréalistes qui créeront plus tard le "livre objet", on propose la « vitrine objet ».
Il faut se détacher du mot « vitrine » dans son sens strict, qui suggère fortement l’immobilité… pour développer un sujet qui puisse aussi être mobile.
On a pu constater que l’espace de la vitrine permet d’approcher plusieurs sujets comme une image cinématographique, ce qui peut être une invitation à sortir du cadre resserré de l'espace vitrine. Mais aussi, au sein de cet espace où se trouvent des mannequins, objets sans vie à vocation commerciale, on peut réaliser une performance artistique.
Champs d’intérêt: Sémiologie, arts visuels, littérature, photographie, cinéma, performance.
7. Stefano Carlucci, University of Bari, Italy, email@example.com
Material enclosures and digital awarenesses
In a next venture hyper-technological society both material and ethical boundaries between human beings and artificial bodies (furnished with individual “intelligences”), have become increasingly blurred.
As a matter of fact each part of human body can be replaced by a perfect artificial re-production, stronger and more efficient, without any considerable effort.
This is a brief summary of The ghost in the shell, a "Cyberpunk Manga" (comic book) created by Masamune Shirow in 1989.
In this context the specific “cipher” of every human being, the only thing that keeps him stuck to his original humanity, even if his body is completely artificial, is represented by his ghost (soul).
But soul, unlike digital memories, can not be easily transferred from one body-shell-signifiant to another through a simple "copy and paste" process.
The author of this comic book was inspired by The ghost in the machine, a structuralist essay written by the philosopher Arthur Koestler in 1967, which in its turn was based on the ideas of Gilbert Ryle, another Twentieth Century English philosopher.
Riley expressed a critical position towards the classic Cartesian dualism, which he considered obsolete and ill-suited to explain the complexity of human nature.
But Shirow, with an un-conscious (?) biosemiotic approach, goes beyond the theories of Koestler and Ryle and comes to define the ghost as a level of self-awareness that characterizes all the complex systems, not only human beings. In this way Shirow reproposes one of the most recurring questions of "science fiction": the possibility of a complete and sentient evolution of the so-called "artificial intelligences".
Starting from the comic book created by the Shirow, the following work will explore some of the possible paths of research emerging from a comparative analysis of our society models and the dystopian society depicted in The ghost in the shell.
8) Kristian Bankov, New Bulgarian University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
e-consumption: transfer of meaning through consumer rituals in Facebook
In this paper I shall examine the new forms of consumer rituals that have emerged after the advent of the world’s biggest social media. As a point of reference and a theoretical model I shall use the classification of the consumer rituals as “instruments for meaning transfer”, as describe in the famous book by Grant McCracken Culture and Consumption (1988). His classification includes four types of rituals for transfer of meaning from the goods to the consumer, namely rituals of possession, exchange, grooming and divestment (72 ff.). If we examine the expression of the consumer behavior in Facebook we can, as a first thing, note that the whole process of consumption has entered a new phase, almost entirely virtual, i.e. with very week relation to the material, tangible phase of the consumption process. The whole platform encourages its users to apply their creativity in completely new forms with which they transfer meaning from their favorite goods, services, brands and lifestyles to their identity/profile. I shall try to offer a new typology of the consumer rituals, or at least point out the huge variety of forms, which have emerged with the possibility to share all our experience online.
9) Prof. Douglas Niño
Purposes and Meaning Construction: A Proposal for Cognitive Semiotics
In Cognitive Semiotics, meaning is understood as a function of speaker’s intentions. According to Mental Space Theory and its extension, Conceptual Integration (CI) —an influential proposal in Cognitive Semiotics (cf. Brandt: 2013, chapter 3)—meaning arises from connections between several mental spaces (Turner, 1996: 57). And mental spaces “are small conceptual packets constructed as we think and talk, for purposes of local understanding and action” (Fauconnier, 2007: 352). It is not clear, however, what a purpose is nor what role it plays in meaning construction. In my opinion, CI’s overarching goal—to achieve human scale— (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002) is too general to describe “purposes of local understanding and action” or, in short, “local purposes”. E.g. if your “local purpose” is to win this chess game, to describe it as “to achieve human scale” misrepresents what is at stake. “Local purposes” require a level of description that is not as abstract as the overarching goal. However, Fauconnier and Turner do not claim that these overarching goals describe “local purposes”, nor do they say how to describe the latter.
Apart the basic distinction between the intrinsic purposes of embodied agents and the derivative purposes of enactuable signs, as it is the case of words (Searle, 1995), a closer examination of what a purpose is shows that it is something which can be achieved completely, partially or presumptively; or fulfilled adequately or not, etc. (Short, 2007). Now only where a purpose arises can ideas such as accurate/inaccurate, right/wrong, interpretation/misinterpretation, communication/miscommunication, etc. appear. In this sense, any theory of meaning construction which does not account for meaning misconstruction is incomplete. (Still this account does not point at a normative theory; it rather pursues an “accurate” descriptive theory of phenomena subjected to rules —relative to a particular socio-cultural Lifeworld (Sonesson, 2009: 43)—, and therefore, to purposes).
If a theory of meaning construction explicitly adopts the idea of purpose (as the CI does), it should construe the role of meaning (mis)construction keeping in mind the (un)attainment of purposes. The aim of this paper is to help clarify the role “local purposes” can have in sense-making, through the application of an agentive and Peircean view of what a purpose is.