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The technocultural dimensions of meaning: towards a mixed semiotics of the World Wide Web
Abstract This dissertation project argues that the This dissertation project argues that the study of meaning-making practices on the Web, and particularly the analysis of the power relations that organize communicational practices, needs to involve an acknowledgement of the importance of communication technologies. This project assesses the technocultural impact of software that automatically produces and dynamically adapts content to user input through a case study analysis of amazon.com and of the {MediaWiki} software package. It offers an interdisciplinary theoretical framework that borrows from communication studies (discourse analysis, medium theory, cultural studies of technology), from new media studies (software criticism) and from Actor-network theory and Felix Guattari's mixed semiotics. In so doing, the research defines a new methodological framework through which the question of semiotics and discourse can be analyzed thanks to an exploration of the technocultural conditions that create communicative possibilities. The analysis of amazon.com examines how the deployment of tools to track, shape and predict the cultural desires of users raises questions related to the imposition of specific modes of interpretation. In particular, I highlight the process through which user-produced meanings are incorporated within software-produced semiotic systems so as to embed cultural processes within a commercial imperative. While amazon.com is an instance of the commercial use of dynamic content production techniques on the Web, Wikipedia stands as a symbol of non-commercial knowledge production. The Wikipedia model is not only cultural, but also technical as mass collaborative knowledge production depends on a suite of software tools - the {MediaWiki} architecture - that enables new discursive practices. The Wikipedia model is the result of a set of articulations between technical and cultural processes, and the case study examines how this model is captured, modified and challenged by other websites using the same wiki architecture as Wikipedia. In particular, I examine how legal and technical processes on the Web appropriate discursive practices by capitalizing on user-produced content as a source of revenue.r-produced content as a source of revenue.
Added by wikilit team Added on initial load  +
Collected data time dimension Cross-sectional  +
Comments The Wikipedia model is the result of a setThe Wikipedia model is the result of a set of articulations between technical and cultural processes, and the case study examines how this model is captured, modified and challenged by other websites using the same wiki architecture - MediaWiki - as Wikipedia.i architecture - MediaWiki - as Wikipedia.
Conclusion this research project has attempted to prothis research project has attempted to provide a grounded methodology to unravel the dynamics linking code, software and culture. The politics through which these dynamics are established and accepted as the normative are central in understanding the play of power relations on the Web. The adaptation of the mixed semiotics framework to the study of Web makes it possible to trace the unfolding of cultural practices of meaning-making and ways of being on the Web. In so doing, the mixed semiotics framework redefines software studies as an essential approach to understanding the evolution of the social and political implications of the mainstream Web.itical implications of the mainstream Web.
Data source Direct observation  +
Google scholar url http://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22The%2Btechnocultural%2Bdimensions%2Bof%2Bmeaning%3A%2Btowards%2Ba%2Bmixed%2Bsemiotics%2Bof%2Bthe%2BWorld%2BWide%2BWeb%22  +
Has author Ganaele Langlois +
Has domain Communications + , Information systems + , Sociology +
Has topic Technical infrastructure + , Other collaboration topics +
Peer reviewed Yes  +
Publication type Thesis  +
Published in York University +
Research design Case study  +
Research questions This project assesses the technocultural iThis project assesses the technocultural impact of software that automatically produces and dynamically adapts content to user input through a case study analysis of amazon.com and of the MediaWiki software package. How a cultural ideal of creating and storing knowledge and a technical platform such as MediaWiki can be articulated with each other to create a cultural form such as Wikipedia is the starting question for this case study. The Wikipedia model is the result of a set of articulations between technical and cultural processes, and the case study examines how this model is captured, modified and challenged by other websites using the same wiki architecture - MediaWiki - as Wikipedia. In particular, the case study examines how legal and technical processes capitalize on user-produced content as a source of revenue, thus revealing how technical and commercial processes on the Web appropriate discursive practices. the Web appropriate discursive practices.
Revid 10,995  +
Theories Medium Theory and Materialities of Communication; Actor-Network Theory, Cultural Studies and Medium Theory
Theory type Explanation  +
Title The technocultural dimensions of meaning: towards a mixed semiotics of the World Wide Web
Unit of analysis Website  +
Url http://www.infoscapelab.ca/files/technocultural-langlois.pdf  +
Wikipedia coverage Case  +
Wikipedia data extraction Live Wikipedia  +
Wikipedia language N/A  +
Wikipedia page type N/A  +
Year 2008  +
Creation dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 15 March 2012 20:31:24  +
Categories Technical infrastructure  + , Other collaboration topics  + , Communications  + , Information systems  + , Sociology  + , Publications  +
Modification dateThis property is a special property in this wiki. 30 January 2014 20:31:57  +
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