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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année :

Existential semiotics and digital ethnography


This communication proposes to identify and discuss methods and approaches in the study of digital human existence. Digital existence as experience, is observed through digital practices (digital data and productions) and « face-to-face » observation. The framework of this approach is based on elements of existential semiotics (Tarasti), semiotics of culture (Lotman) in a Peircian framework to focus on the logical way actors interpret signs in a process of construction of meaning and experience existence (Dasein). This theoretical framework is associated with (1) a mixed ethnographic survey (Boellstorff) conducted online and face-to-face in an unmasked observation and (2) a collection of mixed digital data as metatexts (images, web pages, textual publications in digital social networks, web videos and comments). In an grounded theorization (Paillé) approach, the corpus or metatext is analyzed by iterations : it is (1) annotated (abduction) taking into account the ethnographic survey, (2) categorized (induction) depending on the research question and completed interviews and (3) categories are related (deduction) to propose a conceptual model of the semiosphere, accounting for the observation. In following iterations processes the model is questioned and completed ; a quantitative corpus may be collected, to propose a quantified qualitative approach of the existentiel semiosphere. This theoretical and methodological framework makes it possible to understand the existential relationship that people have with the digital medium in their experience of digital self-construction and self-presentation (cf. author 2009) and their relationship to the image of the other (in mourning, cf. author 2014, in the relationship to the beyond). This framework, adapted according to research question, is presented from the field and mixed qualitative-quantitative corpus produced for the study of the self-presentation practices of web ghost hunters and the staging of their spectral abductions (author 2019).
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hal-03861421 , version 1 (19-11-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03861421 , version 1


Fanny Georges. Existential semiotics and digital ethnography: A theoretical and methodological framework for analyzing existential digital practices. Panel Semiotics and human existence : discussion on approaches and methods, Semiotics and Human Existence: IASS-AIS 15 th World Congress, Paul Cobley; Didier Tsala Effa; Stéphanie Walsh Matthews, Aug 2022, Thessalonique, Greece. ⟨hal-03861421⟩
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