« SEMIOTICS OF SELF(RE)PRESENTATION IN INTERACTIVE DEVICES. The digital hexis »: summary and detailed plan of the PHD Thesis (2007)

Fanny Georges, « SEMIOTICS OF SELF-REPRESENTATION IN INTERACTIVE DEVICES. The digital hexis. « Thesis in Arts and Sciences of Art of the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, defended on 14 December 2007.


Jean CLEMENT, Lecturer in Information Science and Communication, University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Rapporteur.

DARRAS Bernard, Professor of Art and Art Sciences, University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne,  Director of the thesis.

Ghislaine Azemard, Professor of Information Sciences and Communication, University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, President of the Jury.

Alessandro Zinna, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toulouse 2 Le Mirail, Rapporteur.

Summary. The online self-representation is composed of signs manifesting the interaction between users mediated by the interactive device. Online self-representation has the characteristic of being interactive but mostly « acting » (fr. agissante). This « agissante » dimension implies that online representation is a performative representation and produces an experience of interaction and enunciation which is mentally interiorized by the user. An qualitative method applied to the immersive experience and identification has been developed as a phanérological typology (Peircian approach) of self representation as system of signs, combining social, cognitive and semiotic dimensions. This PHD Thesis demonstrate how self representation may be analyzed a a multimodal language.

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Summary and detailed plan for the thesis

This document provides a detailed summary of my thesis, by including diagrams to facilitate a first reading. This thesis has been conducted between 2003 and 2007 as a continuation of my earlier works ( HMI 2003 , GDR Tic & Company 2004 , Mostaganem 2005 ).


  • model of online self-representation and the online representation of the Other. It is the theoretical underbody all developed models throughout my work:
  • model of the centering and decentering process: this implies a user-centered approach to understand the learning process of implicite image of self given by the digital device (i.e. to say, for example, by the user profile).
  • the concept of digital hexis inspired by the translation of Bourdieu’s habitus into digital practices
  • These results are formalized into a classification: the morphosyntaxic phanérology. This typology shows signs of self-representation in the theoretical frameworks of verbal language as analyzed by Ferdinand de Saussure. I followed the Saussurian project, considering that semiotics/semiology would be the science of the study of all languages – this would also be the point of view of Charles Sanders Peirce! After training in linguistics of ancient languages, my project has been to transfer the concepts of linguistics into the field of digital audioscriptovisual language. From this phanerology I designed the later model od Digital Identity (2009 considered in France as one of the principal models od digital identity), the metaphor of the profile (2010), and current issues digital Eternities and postmortem digital identity.


The approach of the system of signs of all that manifests the user in the whole system that combines the system of signs to the self-image or another, is a longitudinal approach; it helps overcome through the precariousness of the digital object (the signs and signs of structuring are continually subject to change and change, users continually produce new signs, applications change, new applications are constantly) , using models whose signs categories can be adapted according to the evolution of applications. These models could have been quite different if the users and the designers had decided otherwise: they let you read, through constant change, a company’s change of direction by the study of its multimodal language use on the support digital.


george fanny plan the thesis

INTRODUCTION (6-14 pages)

  • The digital hexis 7
  • An informed abstractive observation 7
  • A form language: poetry and individual 8
  • An ontological representation 10
  • The acting performances 11
  • Pragmatic and poïetic 12
  • Announcement of the plan 13



1. « EXIST ON THE WEB » 18

  • Vice, violence and representation 18
  • A substitution representation of the body 21
  • The Ego Machine, emancipation of the contingencies of the body? 22


  • Fighting against precarious technical object semiotic analysis 25
  • Purpose of the study of the meaning and methodology 26
  • Dissection and implementation paradigm of the screen body (methodology) 27
  • acquisition and processing methodology Data 27
  • Representations to significances variables 28
  • Ontological representation 30


This independent section presents the major social issues of self-representation on the Internet. It is divided into two parts, the first on the issues of digital technologies in the conduct of the existence of the subjects ( « exist on the web »: pp 18-23.), The second on the modalities of the study process of producing a self-representation ( « The interactive representations of another self »: pp.24-31).

The first part, « exist on the Web » (18-23) shows that digital interfaces are not just technical tools, but changing the conditions of existence of users : for example they cause or accompany, the addictive behaviors , violence (pp. 18-20); they are substituted for the body in communicating relationship by means of the self or numerical representation hexis (p.21), and émancipent the subject of contingencies of the body by allowing it to explore other identities  (p.22 ).

The second part « The interactive representations of another oneself » (24-31) have the problem of the analysis of user representation and self-representation, and this methodological device: collection data on the web and benchmarking, online discussions and face-to-face, participant observation.

In the third part, presented a summary of the research.

Chapter 1 conceptual and socio-technical approach 36-72

1. REPRESENTATIONS the acting I-38

  • 1.1. Observation abstractive representation of the person I-39
  • 1.2 Self-representation on the screen and self-schema-skeleton I-40
  • 1.3 Representations of person off of I-43 screen
  • 1.4 Representations performative and active to I-49 screen


2.1 The human and the computer on which it has I-56

  • The performance index I-57
  • The iconic representation I-59
  • The ubiquitous computing I-63

2.2 The computer as self-presentation social interface I-65

  • The deployment for exchange on the Web I-65
  • The virtual communities I-682.3
  • Summary: a born subjectivity of I-69 network


In the man-machine communication and man to man, in all representations of the screen, the feature of self-representation, is to manifest the presence of the user who manipulates. In this it is not a « classical » representation and boils neither the visible nor the product: its system of signs finds its meaning in the experience provided to manipulate and produce. Holding both of the self-portrait (self-representation) and the communication tool (medium of expression), self-representation is a hybrid nature, mixture of I and enunciation verb: it is a « active representation » (p. 38-52).

4 representations of the acting and self representations performative

They are similar in that to other types of representations such as graphs on the walls of buildings or voodoo dolls, which have in common to be taken power over reality.

3 representations and traces of person

The first index-based representations (Tennis for Two, 1958) that were visible to an appearance of letters or by moving a point, multimodal representations of existing games and software, the socio-technical perspective captures unit this form seems to multiple otherwise. The development of social relationships on the network weaves an imaginary world in which the user participates through its representation. It is as embedded in the screen, and perceived by others through its representation, it creates from scratch. The technical information are human meaning. Just as computer names have become personal names, images have become appearance and movement of self-representation (pointer avatar) a move that can be expressive. The computer is no longer just in the eyes of users, machine processing of information, but it acquires a symbolic value: to bring together people, it subjective. The human enters the machine and the machine gives rise to a new form of presence that is not without emotion.

The self-representation is the product of an abstractive observation itself formatting in the text of the interface. As representations of the person, the digital representations of the user have the following properties (p.71):

  1. They act ( speak , thank , express a feeling, a thought);
  2. They are the trace ( phaneron ) a passage by extension that of a missing person (dead or remote);
  3. They are territorial arrangement, a brand of power;
  4. They have an « iconic » dimension.

As a self-representations on the screen, they have several aspects that distinguish them in the wider field of representations of the person.

The self-representation bears the signs of individuality and an affirmation « generic »: expressive and phatic it qualitatively manifest the existence of its source. It is closely linked to the notion of presence as she weaves in a communicative context characterized by the absence of the interlocutor. It manifests the gesture out of oneself and highlight (ek-sister) and thus belongs to the broader set of performative or the acting performances.

  • As an autograph , it manifests and gives existence to a social identity (signature, distinctive sign, emblem, identity card). It is the fruit of a consensus identity near the autobiographical pact.
  • As an self-portrait, she talks about the gaze inward. This dimension is closely linked to the observation abstractivedont it is the product.
  • As messages it transmits information content that not only manifests the subject but especially his intention to communicate in a communication situation which the recipient is usually typical (the beholder, the governed, the seed or the divine ) or undifferentiated.
  • The intention to communicate to a circle more or less extended recipient depends on its availability. The support of the image (or channel) determines the instability or stability of the message. It can define a territory.

The technical information are human meaning ( subjectivity ) with the emergence of the network and therefore the eyes of others laid on its representation. This identity construction process, from a lattice structure of signs could be seen as a staged fictional dimension of identity as an imaginary reality.

These properties as defined by a conceptual and socio-technical approach used to identify various power centers which will be submitted to questioning.

Chapter 2. Research Status (73-133)



1.1 Semiotics, device and interactivity II-78

  • A Hypertext II-78
  • Hypertext and Cognition II-79
  • Interactivity and cognition II-801.

Located two approaches to action line II-84

  • Issues: functionalism versus constructivism II-84
  • Contributions of the action located II-86
  • Inputs distributed cognition II-87
  • The integrated and expanded pragmatic semiotics II-89

1.3 Approaches to online social life II-91

  • Deterritorialization communities in question II-91
  • Real communities to virtual communities II-92
  • Community and quality of social bonds II-94
  • cultural approaches uses Online II-95


2.1 Self between real and virtual II-100

  • Dismantling identity, healing? II-100
  • Identities versus fiction? II-102
  • Real and virtual II-103

2.2 Actors and representations II-105

  • Between dramatization and strategic operation II-105
  • The recipient of this Other II-106 screen
  • Autonomy and realism II-107

2.3 New forms of socialization II-110

  • Representation of social networks II-110
  • Staging of social representations II-111
  • An identity pact sometimes required II-112

2.4 Immersion and enjoyment to be another II-114


3.1 Applied Prospects II-117

  • Ethnographic Methods II-118
  • An open discourse structure II-119
  • Educational Issues II-121

3.2 Contexts research (experimental frames) II-122

  • The pleasures of video game player II-122
  • Travel in persistent worlds (Wanadoo Editions) II-126
  • Consulting II-127
  • Mediation: the Observatory digital worlds II-128 humanities


The state of research brings together conceptual tools to the construction of theoretical frameworks and methodology: the concepts of « interactive device » and « self-screen » are located in scientific production and applied approaches interfaces digital are identified.

There is a lack between the very approaches applied research in HMI, which aim to design communication tools, and approaches of the humanities who sometimes lack specific tools to analyze interfaces.

Precariousness of research?  The results of research on interactive features are closely dependent when they are conducted. Data collection requires memorization of regular pages, otherwise the field is lost, as are people who create, self-representations are continually evolving. The production of meaning is a collective construction  : the virtual community studies show that new social forms and new rites of interaction emerging online continuously.

Need for multidisciplinary tools. Both necessarily mentioned in most research on human-machine interfaces and rarely treated specifically, the avatar representations of the self and require multidisciplinary analysis. The meaning can not be understood that knowledge of sociological and cognitive theories. The plurivocity these multidisciplinary approaches leading to a variety of name of the same phenomenon, mutual contributions are complicated: it therefore does firstly to find a suitable terminology, and secondly, to develop gateways dialogue between disciplines.

Chapter 3. A metamorphic device (134-202  self-representation and digital hexis (definition of the concept)

  • The / identity / subject III-135
  • The Hypostasis of the screen: the cultural arrangement work and complexity III-136
  • Example of self-descriptive form as those presented in the dating sites. III-137
  • The cultural implicit real III-137
  • The implicit cultural conveyed by the word III-138
  • Cultural conditioning the representation III-139


1.1 The significance of representation in the co III-147

  • The situation of presence III-147
  • The operative position III-148
  • The co-presence pointer: an indicator and describing III-149
  • A metasemiotic dimension: Continuity and discontinuity III-150
  • The interior of the representation in the co III-151

1.2 « You can not not communicate » remotely (registration) III-154

  • Anonymity in question III-155
  • From a distance, can not we communicate? III-155
  • Registration and interactivity III-156
  • The minimum information: the IP address III-156
  • Semiotization technical name III-157
  • Visitors not so anonymous III-158

1.3 Analysis Outlook situations presence III-161

  • The information / self / III-161
  • Creating a self-representation in III-162 screen
  • Shape and reshape III-162
  • Signs perceptible by the system, by a third party and the III-164 receiver



2.1 Self-Representation, between fiction and reality – and III-167 genera

2.2 Identification, Activity, Customizing III-168

  • III-170 Identification
  • III-170 Personalization
  • III-170 activity

2.3 Existing « Power 10 » III-171

  • The hypostasis of figure III-171
  • Being another or be yourself: what for? III-173
  • Understanding the human representation requires initiation III-176
  • The identity-calculus (the Egomachine) III-178
  • Being visible III-181
  • Sophisticate presentation III-182
  • Beyond III-183 game
  • Shine: the intoxication of overexposure III-185

3. hysterization PRESENCE (hypostasis) III-188

3.1 Centering and decentring III-190

  • The educational values ​​and formative III-190
  • The notion Piaget III-191
  • life stories III-192

3.2 Identity and self-awareness III-193

  • The identity beard to dad III-193
  • The identity fiction III-194
  • The self-consciousness as William James III-194

3.3 The Otherness in Question III-196

  • What brands of decentration? III-196
  • specular reflective level and III-198
  • Representation of otherness III-199

3.4 hysterization image of an image in the absence III-200

In this chapter is self-concept digital representation or hexis Numeric e composed of three dimensions: registration, information, hysterization.

Registration information hysterization

  1. Registration (in the etymological sense of inscribere « write » produce a sign ) . The subject which produces a screen representation perceives it in a form of self-centered reflexivity which proceeds by a sémiotechnique forming the user profile. Note: Here is an ambiguity, it is noted here that digital hexis fall under this dimension registration, while in the headline and first chapter of Phanérologie morpho, digital hexis is defined as the product of ‘hysterization. This is the fundamental process of hexis is based on the registration of the user on the media.
  2. Information (in the etymological sense of informare « shape » ) « You can not not communicate » remotely (154-160): It is not only produce technical representation, but in the refining, to give shape  to meaningful units that organize so as to compose, model and specify the skeleton diagram of / so / representation (p.160).
  3. Hysterization (in the Greek sense of ὑστερίζειν « get behind ») the fact of separate representation, in which the subject is embedded in his body, would allow a process of decentration and construction of self in the sense of Piaget, by overemphasis certain signs and meaning production. The spécilaire dimension is central to the reflective device.

As attempts to show this pattern (Figure 44  »  Directed to the screen and setting social scene (hysterization) semisubjectivé // person // scheme « , p. 201), these three dimensions are modeling three aspects of the interpretive process. They correspond to the three fundamental semiotic categories defined by Peirce.


  • The level of registration corresponds to the level of Peirce firstness: interpreting immediate signs products to represent traces of a person: it is the level of « cockpit » controls (joystick, keyboard, sensors) , and the GUI hardware and the reality in the context of the interaction , as shown in Figure 29, the interior (represented by the broken line) , p. 152.

Figure 29 cockpit self representation

  • The level of information is the level of secondness: interpreting emotional or dynamic signs products to represent self image. This is the level of processing (in gr poiein, « doing. ») Interface to coincide with the image of itself : for example, personalization, enter information to describe his character or his love research. As and extent of customization of the interface, a fictional identity process is taking place, which can move towards fiction or realism (p. 167-168). In this part I emphasizes « the hypostasis of the figure, » a notion that I réutiliserai in the Digital Identity Model (calculated identity). These « valuation criteria of the presence ( Figure 40 Criteria for valuation of the presence , p. 172 ) affect the image that the subject is, for example, reputation (eg, number of comments), its sociability (eg number of friends) in a decoding co-constructed by the user community.

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  • The level of the hysterization than thirdness: final argument interpreting or signs to represent products including a specular dimension of decentration. This is the level of the process of decentration and specularityThe decentration process (identified in the prior mark as central in the device’s ability to stimulate a process appentissage) ( Figure 43 Dynamic centration and decentration, p. 199 ), involves a reflective or specular dimension which the subject is off center technically (it shares files with other users, he walks in a 3D environment, chats with other users) and sémiocognitivement (it fits the context, takes the stage, adjusts its representation , expresses emotions in poetry or conative dimension according to Jacobson) .This  model centration and decentration in self-representation  (it contains for convenience, prematurely in the linear reasoning, a simplified model of the self-representation presented below)  will be reused in the model of metaphor profile, originally published in my book Identities virtue girls, to develop the issue of conceptual metaphors and interaction, core process of the interpretation of the operative image (reflection) of self and learning design models: one can say for simplicity that  it is through this process as the devices users learn to represent themselves in their frames, according to their own values. 

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Chapter 4. Research Program (203-256)

  • A can of worms IV-203
  • Fight against precarious technical object semiotic analysis IV-204
  • Purpose of the study of the meaning and methodology IV-205
  • Plan Announcement Research Program IV-206



1.1 aliquid stat pro aliquo and Qui pro quo IV-210

  • The transcoding Saussure and IV-212 misunderstandings
  • Interpretation of trichotomy Peirce IV-213
  • Trichotomy versus dichotomy, a matter of « temperament »? IV-215
  • Semeiology IV-217 communication

1.2 The sign Regarding the person (quid pro quo) IV-218

  • The action of the sign on the interpreter IV-218
  • Phaneron, phainomenon and registration IV-219

1.3 A decision semiotics and social construction (misunderstanding) IV-223

  • Semiotic decision IV-223
  • Arbitrary, intent and IV-224 convention
  • How to produce a semiotic of a technical object (a technosémiotique)? IV-226
  • Study the language as autonomous object built locally IV-227



Issue of terminology IV-230

2.1 The concept of representation IV-232

  • An interior image IV-232
  • An abstract entity embodied concretely IV-233
  • « A systematic correspondence » – ditto identity IV-233
  • Computer « technical representation » – phaneron IV-233

2.2 The names of self-representation in interactive devices IV-234

2.3 Self-representation of the Problem IV-236

  • Pragmatism and interactionism – a self-presentation IV-236
  • Experimental psychology and re-appropriations of psychoanalysis « a cognitive apparatus » IV-237

2.4 A poïetic experience of service (method – vocabulary) IV-239


3. METHODOLOGY pragmatic and poietic IV-241

  • IV-242 semiotic observation
  • methodological experimentation IV-243
  • IV-243 Notes
  • Corpus IV-244

3.1 A research specific level IV-245

  • IV-245 typology
  • Levels IV-247 analysis
  • Need for diachronic apprehension IV-248

3.2 integrated software analysis (observation-creation) – Study of IV-249 standard

  • Create documenting IV-250
  • Schematic representations IV-251
  • Subjectivities diagram IV-253

3.3 Observation pragmatic software (comprehensive observation) IV-255

  • Position researcher between involvement and detachment IV-255
  • participant conversations and observation IV-256
  • Therapeutic interviews? IV-256

Self-representation is defined as consisting of three dimensions; Registration, information and hysterization. The hypothesis tested was that operates a metaphor between the interface and the interiority of interactivity . The theoretical frameworks combine theories of the sign in linguistics and semiotics. The contribution of poetics and participating methods is adjusted to the study of mechanisms of semiotics decision collectively built, at the heart of the research problem.

In this section is divided into three sections.

The first subsection « SIGN PERSON REPRESENTING THE SCREEN » (p. 208_229) concerns the choice of theoretical frameworks and language method for analyzing the sign system that shows the user.

  • Self-representation is presented as a « quid pro quo » (referring to the medieval definition of the sign according to Jakobson « aliquid stat pro aliquo » this expression playing on the double meaning of « someone (an avatar, a user profile ) who wishes to someone else (the user) « and misunderstanding (the fact that these two elements are generally interpreted as a single person (the avatar, profile, coincides with the user).
  • Choosing a triadic system responds accordingly to the need to highlight the link between the two, from the standpoint of production and reception to analyze the relationship between the user and the representation to it associated.

This is analyzed at first the signs that show the user (his phanérologique analysis), and secondly the terms of its production (the poietic dimension).

  • The use of the term is explained phanérologie « in the etymological sense, » that is visible, apparent, one can see or which shows obvious openly « ( phaneroi theoi  : gods who show men). The phaneron  of self-representation is the system of signs visible on the screen representing a person.  « (P.219). The morpho phanérologie premiere of the research is the result of an emic typologisation ([Klinkenberg 1996: 99-100] « The emic perspective is contemplating semiotic behavior by involving them in their cultural context. ») Signs who show the user on the screen using linguistic concepts created to describe the verbal language.
  • The Poïétique dimension corresponds to phainomenon, ie the system of signs as interpreted as a representation of a user, and therefore requires a truly pragmatic approach with an analysis of the experience and discourse users.

The second part « REPRESENTATION OF SELF: A TOOL CONCEPT » (230-240) presents the problem of terminology. Many term is used to designate the self-representation, and the choice of this expression is explained:

« By co-presence, the subject communicates through his posture, his clothes before even verbalize his message [Goffman 1973]. The body emits natural signs [Eco 1988]. Voluntary or not, communication is inevitable. A remote GUI intervenes. Behavioral signs are transposed by the user to fit it. In the family of BMC Software, the user does not exist without its representation. Unlike communication co-presence, the subject does not communicating if it does not show. Its inscription is taken of existence. The use of computer-mediated communication substitute, in this perspective, the representation body. It creates a sign which represents the eyes of the caller and of itself, as an identifier of interests, a biography, a picture. The representation of self and push their extreme application the work of Erving Goffman particular theater of everyday life, user representation revealing the intention of presentation and identities are multiplying with the contexts of use. « (P.236-237)

Several dimensions of self-representation are discussed in this section, including the representation of self concept as « my skin », « skin for thought » (p.237).

The model of self-representation  is presented in the form of a diagram (inappropriately titled Terminology) (Figure 52 Terminology, p. 240), taking up the issues raised in this chapter.

Model of self-representation in interactive digital devices

The complexity of the scheme is that it attempts to model the adjacency and the difference between the visible world and the world interpreted: as regards the visible world body and phaneron (signs of the system that  »  manifest » the user) . 

  • Self-image is the image that the subject is itself in thought (the self-figure diagram of Peirce)
  • The self-presentation concerns the presentation of self in face-to-face of the subject (the body part) and the digital representation. It is purely phanérologique the sense that it is the signs of the visible world.
  • Self-representation is limited to the signs that show the user on the display and interpretation as self-image.
  • The Representation of the Other concerning signs that manifest the interlocutor in the digital world and their interpretation as the image of the Other.

This diagram shows the visible world as an intermediary between the image that the subject is itself in thought (self-image) and interpreted the world, including the interpretation of signs on a digital medium but also all sign interpreted the world (everything that is not currently visible, that is all that is perceived by the imagination, a thought also being a sign according to Peirce, but is not visible). The two self-representation of concepts and the other representation phanérologique include the dimension (see dimension of registration ) and phenomenological (d dimensional ‘ information and hysterization )

In the third part, « PRAGMATIC METHODOLOGY AND poietic » (241-256), presented the corpus / field analysis. This diagram ( Figure 53 Self-representation in interactive devices: methods of theorizing ., P 242) presents the main aspects.

Self-representation in interactive features methods of theorizing

He noted the rapid growth of the phenomenon and domain mutations (the « precarious support », see Figure 53).

« The potential of this research field has expanded considerably from 2001 to 2007.

  • In 2001, the arrival of the players was preteens event. In 2007, they predominate.
  • Appearance of « web 2.0 ». The variety and nature of software offered to the public have evolved, leading us to deepen the fundamental problem. Some have gone as Lovelycos, others have appeared, as Meetic, blogs, networking software. These applications are dynamic: the user does not fully create its representation, unlike the personal pages or homepages. The representation in these programs is somehow configured in advance: the software offers self-reporting framework.
  • Registration, user accounts. Many features were available without registration in 2001; 2005 registration is widespread. Informative sites provide « community » features or « personalization ». « (Pp. 243-44)

These considerations confirm the advantage of a longitudinal approach devices for understanding how they inform a self-image of the user: for example, the imposition of creating an account provides the representation, part permanent: it is in the development of permanent signs of the representation of course what will become « digital identity » of the user (as defined in the Digital identity Model, George 2009) begins to instantiate.

The corpus / field is presented. Fifty-three « software » (see below Figure 54 Table of the specific field analysis p. 244-245) were the subject of a comparative analysis for the phanérologique analysis. Their selection mode is explained: as it was shown in Chapter 2, while hypertext is characterized by the need for the user to produce signs (a minimum positions the pointer) to use a hypertext, we can consider all hypertext exhibit self representation. Consequently:

« The software has been selected from this corpus does not necessarily exist to achieve self-presentation (in the case of blogs and sites under the category of diaries), but more typically use self-presentation

  • to access content (video game blog)
  • to create conditions for interpersonal exchange (chat, blog)
  • or to produce an experience of the carrier sense representation of a taken object ( artistic devices). « (P.244)


Longitudinal analysis took place in several phases, discontinuously:

« The first phase of intensive observation was conducted in 2001-2002 and second in 2004-2005, during research previously presented (see Contexts Research ). In addition, we studied specifically for this thesis (observation periods are shown in parentheses):

  • Instant Messaging: ICQ (2001-2003), MSN (2002-2007)
  • MMORPG Anarchy Online (2005-2006); Toontown (2005)
  • Community Site: Blogs: Livejournal (2005) Liveblog (2006), twenty-six (2006), EnergieBlog (2007), Overblog (2007); Networking : Linkedin (2005-2007); Community Music: Myspace (2006-2007)
  • Personal Website (2001-2004)
  • Video game offline: Silent Hill 2, 3 and 4 « (p.243)

The table below ( « Figure 54 Table of field specific analysis », p. 244-245) shows an extract of the corpus to show the variety of forms of self-representations analyzed and taken into account in phanérologie Morphosyntactic .

General Description specific designation Software name or application and standing practice Type of self-representation (examples)
Thu massively multiplayer game (MMORPG) Anarchy Online (2005-2006), Dark Age of Camelot (2001) Toontown (2005) Avatar character sheet, cat, 3D world
Online games Freechess Wanadoo chess, Pieces of chess, nickname, cat
Games Offline Silent Hill 2, 3 and 4, Quake, Soldiers of fortune Avatar / 3D world
messaging instant messaging ICQ (2001-2003) MSN (2002-2007) Icon pseudonym, currency, dialog texts
Cat collective Chat Respublica, Caramail, Yahoo (2001-2002) Username Dialog texts
3D Chat Bowiewold (2002-2003), Penguin Island (2001-2002), Cryopolis (2001) Dialog texts Avatar
personal Website Personal website (not dynamic) GingerBombyx (2001-2002) moth, (2003-2004) gestation (2001-2007) Texts, images, sounds, videos, hyperlinks
Community Sites rating sites Quoimagueule, GothorNot (2002) Photography, interest free entry centers (automatic indexing)
communities Myspace (2006-2007) Photography, favorite music (sound), « friends », videos, photos, album personnel.Comptes music: personal pieces
Meeting sites Lovelycos (2002), Meetic (2002; 2005) Icon currency; in ICQ (Community side): biographical narrative and interests.
homepages blogs Livejournal (2005) Liveblog (2006), twenty-six (2006), EnergieBlog (2007), Overblog (2007) Name, name blog, daily publications, reader comments, biographical information, list of « friends » or « favorites » interests.
networking sites Linkedin (2005-2007) Actual information (regarding the workplace), CV, former colleagues network.
Media sharing Emule (2003-2007), Soulseek (2004-2007), Kazaa (2001-2003) Shared folders (local disk space); pseudonym, technical information (speed, downloads, queue)

Figure 54 Table of the specific field analysis (p. 244-245)

Chapter 5. Phanérologie morpho (p. 257-316)

  • Issue: a typology action-oriented V-258
  • A discursive art? V-258
  • V-259 Terminology


1. Hexis DIGITAL V-262

  • self-representation and representation of the V-262 speaker
  • Multimodality (multimodal interactions) V-264
  • Permanent signs and current signs V-265
  • Unique Signs and signs typical V-266



2.1 Technical layout (screen) V-268

  • The V-268 Screen
  • The Interior Missed V-269

2.2 diegetic layout (real and fictional) V-271

  • Viewpoint in the V-271 space
  • Camera and perspective: decentration V-272
  • Interiority-exteriority V-273
  • Diegetic and diegetic V-274 levels

2.3 Morphosyntactic arrangement (choice) V-276

  • The intercodique redundancy: the phrase pseudonym-avatar (ligator autonym) V-277

2.4 representational abyss Systems (inclusion) V-278

  • Theme and rheme: phaneron the sign of « living » V-279


3. clutches (MORPHOLOGY) V-280

3.1 coupling for and deictic (presentation of the clutch system) V-281

  • primary and secondary clutch engaging V-282
  • V-284 interaction and clutch
  • causal links in question V-285
  • Primary shifters (registration) V-285
  • The ligator autonyme (agent) V-286
  • Side shifters V-287

3.2 Predicate (activity / interaction) (pattern, rheme link, clutch) V-289

  • Preaching and continuously V-290
  • Preaching and current V-290
  • The modification devices clutches of presence (qualifiance, information) V-291
  • interpersonal and diegetic Vivance (ruthmos) V-291

3.3 autonym V-293

  • Autonyme and allonyme (secondary distinction) V-293

3.4 V-295 rental

  • Adessive case and inessive V-295
  • The inessive (extradiegetic) V-296
  • IP V-297
  • Internet address V-297
  • The adessive case: a subjective spatial localization diegetic V-298

3.5 The ligator (the clutch agent) V-299

  • The pointer, a ligator or extradiegetic diegetic V-300
  • Contextual directions V-300
  • diegetic details V-301
  • diegetic Information V-301 Pointer

3.6 Qualifying (clutch engaging side) V-302

  • Epithet V-302
  • The user’s icon V-303
  • self description (the biographical description, the quote currency) V-304
  • Interests and linking « form » V-304
  • Shared presentations or media (possessive) V-306
  • Community representations (or comitative sociatif) V-307

4. overinterpretations: SKIING TO EXPERIENCE V-309

4.1 Presence V-310

  • The ligator autonyme V-310
  • The email and poetics decision in context (social roles) V-311

4.2 Implicit livingness of V-312

4.3 Interaction and production of meaning: V-track 314

The phanérologie Morphosyntactic of self-representation (Grammar) reports and analyzes applied what we have called the documentary observation .

« This phanérologie can account actors of the situation of presence and their role in the production of meaning. It describes the phaneron ( « what is visible, apparent ») to understand the phainomenon ( « which manifests itself »).

As morpho this classification describes the mechanisms of meaning representations, that is to say rules that contribute to the arrangement of units (or morphemes) to form units, LUs and texts (up words, proposals and structuring of reasoning). See [Dubois et al. 2002: 512]

This description is divided into two parts: the study of arrangements (syntax) and the study of significant or meaningful units (morphology), all bringing us to a study of the co-construction of the representational power.

In the third part, we will sum up the results obtained in order to establish the foundation for the study of phainomenon and semiotics decision. « (P. 257)

1. Hexis DIGITAL (p. 262-266)

The first part is made on the digital hexis device which is self representation treated as a second body (cf. hysterization ). It is defined here as consisting of self-representation and the representation of the Other (I use the term « representation of the interlocutor » in place of « representation of the other » (see Figure 52 Model of self-representation) that I use more frequently in the document to emphasize the discursive nature of representation, but it obscures the terminology)

« The sign system that represents the user is like a body on the screen, he took a present situation. There are a self-representation and representation of the speaker , as in communication in the co-we ourselves apart from the person with whom we speak. However, on the screen, the representation of the party is part of self-representation. « (P. 262) 

A first semiotic deconstruction is shown in example (Figure 60 Self-Representation: Decomposition of the units (MSN: 2004) p. 263).

Figure 60 representation of self decomposition in units

« The self-representation is, in consideration of the main console,

  • a pseudonym ( « Fanny »), a / capsule /
  • and a set of representations of the speaker (eg the icon / Tulip field / juxtaposed the name Marylène in the list of online contacts.
  • An icon in the taskbar of the operating system tasks, notifies the status of the identified person. « (P.263)

Some signs are permanent: they are saved and searchable post, others are ephemeral or current, such as the change of status (connected to offline) (p. 265).



In the second part are brought to the arrangement or syntax elements constituting the self-representation. Three levels of arrangement are distinguished:

  • technical (level of physical interaction with the device, and the level of interaction in the digital software, see p. 268-269),
  • diegetic (modeling the level of digital interaction in the software in terms of space – I repeat this in the metaphor of « home » in the model of metaphor Profile (2010) See p 271-.. 275)
  • morpho (intercodique assembly, e.g. scriptovisuel phrase of ligator autonyme, which is constituted of an image (the profile picture) and an identifier (User ID): these two associated elements signify the presence of the user by their only event, like 3D avatar and nickname over his head. (p. 276-277)
  • in abyme: representational systems are as abyme  ( Figure 66 entanglement of self-representations , p. 278) by including one within the other, they are intricate: a representation of the other may have a self-image, by eg if the user has issued a message on the wall of a friend, for example, or its icon in the list of friends (p.278-279)

entanglement of self-representations

This particular configuration, which differs from the previously reticularity defined as property of hypertext, implies a form of escape  sign (from concept Mille Plateau Deleuze and Guattari) with this set abyss. This is hardly mentioned here, but is included in the conclusion as an important element of meaning construction (p. 429) can close the process of mythological model for Barthes to highlight (p 426-427.) the ency of the process of escape, over-determination, hysterization, with the notion of myth Barthes, which concentrates the stakes of connotation in the sense of production.decentration or echappee sign of self-representation

I finally applies the concept of theme and rheme to self-representation, « the adjectives or descriptive elements of self-representation (the theme) are produced by an action that motivates and products (the rheme) – or, one might say, motivates producing them « (p. 279).

If the type is consistent, the use of these three terms is rather clumsy: they require to be reviewed for clarity since their use is not justified by their common sense, and the status of the document their definition not identify the reason for their use by a common distinguishing criterion.


3. shifters (Morphology) (p. 280-308)

The system of signs of self-representation is broken down into two categories of signs: e primary and secondary mbrayeurs (282-288), which are presented separately in the following chapter.

« The shifters are significant units, in this case, can engage an interpretation of phaneron (eg Avatar) as a sign of the person by a declaratory act. « (P.281)

 »  Primary shifters to locate and identify it in the here and now (here and now) they designate, while secondary clutches are gearing its information. One could say that the clutches indicate the subject (the interactor), the primary means the clutches, and side clutching the connote. « (Pp. 281-282)

« Primary shifters are divided into four categories:

  • ligator the autonym is the operator of the manipulation (eg MMORPG avatar, Myspace: Default picture and nickname, Meetic picture and name). It consists of ligator, which is the profile picture or avatar in 3D (see pages 299-301) and the autonym is the appellative given to oneself to designate oneself (MMORPG Myspace, Meetic: pseudonym). (see also:  »  autonym and allonyme (high distinction), 293-294 page). On the autonym ligator see also pages 310-311).

« The ligator autonyme is a phrase (or lexical item) required for the semiotic clutch. (…) The ligator-autonym draws attention to itself and the presence of sujet.Il gradually acquires an existence in the world, an aura that gives it a social influence. determinant operator, it has a dimension rhematic (registration) as well as thematic (information). He body gestures immediacy and permanence. (…) Fixed and permanent, the ligator autonyme form a sort of center of the representation. The messages, sent files, video, input exchanges, connection status, side shifters, would the updates, which would make the living. « (Pp. 310-311)

  • predicates denote the discount trial (connect, MMORPG fight, explore, view objects Myspace: make a « Friend request », reply, send an email, view other pages Meetic: flash a person visit the pages, send an email). (see pages 289-291)
  • Rental refers to the time and place of the interaction (eg MMORPG presence of the avatar, Myspace and Meetic: User connected icon, last visit) (see also the different categories of rental, pages 295-298 )

Side shifters (or qualifiers) are divided into three subcategories:

  • epithets describe the subject (eg MMORPG profession, race, Myspace. mood, Meetic: biographical description, physical).
  • possessives refer to owned or exhibits (eg MMORPG. clothes, weapons, potions, Myspace: videos posted link, images, Meetic photo album).
  • the sociatifs comitatifs and refer to friends (eg MMORPG members, guild; Myspace. list of « friends »; Meetic: last connected on the page, flashes, favorite contacts)

We have collected the secondary clutches under the generic term of qualifying. « (P 282-283.); Also see details on side shifters pages 302-308)


Figure 107 self representation phanerologique study of lobservable

The last sub-section is about over-interpreting (309-314) and has tracks for poietic analysis (ie self-representation shaping experience self-image)





  • Corpus presentation: Livejournal and Touchgraph VI-317
  • homepages of the VI-317 networking

1.1 Description of the object of study VI-318

1.2 actual identity and identity diegetic VI-320

  • diegetic level (location in history) VI-321
  • Interiority and exteriority (location in space) VI-322
  • Personal identity VI-322
  • The identity diegetic VI-322
  • Technical identifiers (Rental shifters) VI-322

1.3 Reflexivity and specular VI-323

  • Specularity the VI-323 drive
  • Specularity VI-323 system
  • Read and be read to exist VI-324

1.4 Visualization and Construction VI-327

1.5 Conclusion: writing as multiple experience of being VI-328


2. DUMPING AND METAPHOR interiority VI-330

2.1 Construction Research VI-331

2.2 semiotic Description VI-336

  • management features and VI-336 controls
  • Preview of the first two sequences VI-338
  • The flat 302 VI-340

2.3 Exploratory Series VI-341 testimonials

3.4 VI-345 metaphor

  • The metaphors of the VI-345 interiority
  • The metaphor rhetoric VI-345
  • Psychosocial metaphor VI-346
  • Metaphor in symptomatology and sémiopragmatique VI-347
  • The metaphor of interiority: definition VI-348
  • Index-based metaphors of Silent Hill VI-349
  • Henry, the building and the chamber 302 VI-349
  • The metaphor of VI-351 umbilical cord
  • The metaphor of the self-VI-353 Skin
  • The I-VI-355 Skin
  • The pattern of interiority and exteriority VI-356
  • Motivate VI-357 perspective

2.5 Experience of the player to experience the VI-358 character

2.6 Conclusion: an area of ​​visibility of inner experience VI-360



3.1 Construction of the search VI-363

  • GUIs, tangible and gestural VI-364
  • The « immersion syndrome » in orogestuelles VI-365 interfaces
  • The art, its legitimacy and its interpretation in question VI-365
  • Choice of Thousand Leagues VI-367
  • Summary of the VI-368 study program

3.2 Analysis device thousand leagues VI-369

  • The representation of the user in thousand leagues VI-370
  • A « territory-memory » VI-371
  • Gesture to the image VI-372
  • Visitor behavior analysis VI-374

3.3 Conclusion: the gesture of modeling image VI-376



4.1 Repetition jingle equipment VI-379

  • The refrain VI-379
  • Corpus electronic poetry VI-381

4.2 Poïétique the meaning VI-384

4.3 Interactivity and production meaning VI-387

  • Experience and production meaning VI-387
  • Poetry and ergonomics VI-388
  • The last memory VI-389
  • My VI-393 pink

4.4 Ritournelle and interactivity VI-395

  • Crystallization VI-399
  • The here and now of the production of meaning VI-399


  • Study 1: Strategies automédiation in Livejournal VI-401
  • Study 2: Silent Hill Interiority in VI-401
  • Study 3: Usability in thousand leagues VI-401
  • Study 4: My last memory and VI-402 pink


Chapter Poïétique the meaning summarizes the results obtained in the previous section and offers a synthesis semiotic system for the study of self-representation online as poetics of meaning. It brings together works that have been published individually.

  • a biographical device (blog Livejournal ) (see also the article published in H2PTM 2005)
  • a play scripted device (the video game Silent Hill 4 of Konami )
  • behavioral system ( Millelieues Cedric Doutriaux)
  • creation of animations (Cyril Noyelle)

Several concepts were not listed in the phanérologie. What must be understood is that these works were produced during the phanérologique analysis and poetics: they témoignet several degrees of development tools and concepts presented in the Phanerologie.


VII. Poïétique OF SERVICE (Mythologies) VII-403

  • A quid pro quo? Reminder of the VII-403 problem
  • The significance of construction or semiotic decision VII-404
  • The hexis and VII-404 cockpit
  • An act representational VII-405
  • The representation as ontological experience VII-405


  • A language and a social construction VII-408
  • Rental and VII-411 preaching
  • Primary and secondary clutches (centration and decentration) VII-412
  • Interiority and externality hexiques: VII-413 modular spaces
  • The diegetic space and extradiegetic space. VII-414


  • Predicative metaphors (or indexical) and the arrangement VII-416 metaphors
  • A representation in absentia hystérisée VII-417
  • Immersion and VII-419 shift


  • The remaining cases VII-421
  • Proposals for VII-422 experiences
  • semiotic analysis and justification of the work VII-422
  • Position researcher VII-423 experience
  • What is a poetics in relation to pragmatic? VII-424


  • Mythology identity VII-426
  • enunciative economy phainomemon VII-427


This final chapter is elliptical because it refers to the entire document. It may seem fragmented in its editorial form, but the reasoning of the thread is correct. I reproduce some quotes here.

« The self-representation on the screen is produced by a person for which it holds (pro stat) . Self-representation in the game and communication covers the same authenticity of identity construction, « it matches or not a reality » (the phaneron ). It manifests a strategy at the same time the structure. However, there is no evidence linking the online image and its source: the interpretation is not exactly conform to the sign as analyzed in pragmatic. This produces a kind of semiotic distortion between the concrete representation (the phaneron ) and assigned meaning (the phainomenon ). This distortion is not a phenomenon secondary to the meaning, within connotative mechanisms would operate in second-hand denotation, as Barthes analysis in Mythologies (1970)  : on the screen, this distortion is needed to understand what means of representation, that is to say a person. « (Page 403)

It’s on page 427 that we find the figure of the mythological model (Figure 112 ‘mythology’ identity)

2017-08-22 at 00-30-24

« Identity and immersion are related: the subject interprets as a representation / self / or / person / because he enlisted in the diegetic own software. Thus, device metamorphic initiates a questioning of immersion: self-screen representation and self abstractive representation find their common identity in the fiction is a semiotic construct learned during learning. Thus, we used the concept of semiotic decision as developed by Jean-Marie Klinkenberg. Semiotics decision is the process by which the subject assigns a meaning: the concept is peculiar to think the meaning in its construction. The questioning of immersion involves support both semiotics decision and flow immersive, this lean, which binds the subject to the diegetic world by the operation of his own mind who « weaves » ( textum ) history between the information it finds on the screen. To explain, we built two analytical devices (concepts): the passenger and hexis. « (P. 404)

« The sign that represents a person is a double movement registration (product of an interaction) and information (a form given by registration). This double movement produced a phenomenon of over-interpretation, the hysterization identity or mythology. « (P. 404)

« To found deeply phanérologique arrangement, the phaneron  was analyzed as a product of a representational act: language concepts through verbal language have been compared with the significant units that show the person on the screen. The representational act is the act of enunciation of the verbal language. « (P. 405)

« The representation of the user is a framework in which shapes subjectivity in a double movement registration-interpretation / self /. Subjects shape and reshape their representation to feel authenticity. Thus, the device hexique leads the subject to think about himself and looking at something to find social posture that suits him. It is different whether this posture may be the same in reality, but users interviewed seem to think. Patiently, groping, the subject tries to come off the own identity determinism to the permanent dimension of phaneron  to deploy slightly farther little closer is just a self-truth still fragile as the screen tends to make tangible. This self-experience coupled with an experience of the other by the operation of intersubjectivity. Users have a particular interest for sociological observation, considering the range of representations of the other as representative of the company. This certainly does not correspond to reality, but what matters to us is not reality, but the representation that have topics. « (Pp. 404-405)


It is especially summarized the various comments associated with the construction of the concept of hexis. One may be surprised to see these definitions in conclusion, but this is explained by the fact that the relevance of this concept appeared to me two months before the rendering of the thesis: I could not help but be to include, and revisit once all of my thesis to consider the different elements that could inform, equip or challenge: the poiur reason why its use is not entirely consistent . It is a concept yet very fruitful and that perfectly complements my conceptual device.

« Christine Detrez’s research on the hexis  body in his book The social construction of the body helps to deepen the concept of hexis  digital . This concept unifies the answers to the problems we raised by developing the conceptual tool of self-representation.

« Analysis of the concept of hexis  body, the Greek equivalent of the habitusLatin, refers to the more general theory of habitus. It refers to the bodily manifestation, incorporated, habitus; it is what turns, indeed, the body according to the specific social uses each group, giving this coincidence makes surprise with the same naive candor that Madame de La Fayette centuries earlier that we have so often physical labor. The body hexis is thus added to the body in place, already physically and morphologically determined by taste, which will guide the individual to a particular food choice, a particular physical activity. « [Detrez 1998: 163]

The hexis is a Greek word, ἓξις, which refers to the act of owning, possession. It also denotes the way of being. Hence it refers to the ability or capacity resulting from experience or metonymically, experience, Plato. This term comes from the verb ἔχω ( echo ) which means « I » is the hexis action and possession. The suffix -σις is common to the action names: it can be compared to φύσις having the same suffix and denotes « the action to give birth, training, production, » where « nature ». The hexis therefore refers to the action of owning something. The habitus Latin means « the way of being, outside, external appearance, physical conformation. » It refers to facial features, available to the face, the face, the suit, to overweight. In a second sense, it means the setting, holding: the implementation of the shepherds, clothing, and, figuratively speaking, the way of being, the state (the way of being of Italy, the nature of clothing, weapons, keeping the style, clothing, constitution of mind, feeling). Habit comes from the verb habeo . The frequentative Live In , means « have often inhabit ». Habitomeans to live, occupy. Habitudo ( « our » usual) means the way of being, condition, outside. The frequentative form is particularly interesting to analyze the phenomenon of the screen because, as community members must attend repeatedly to exist the community, the cabin is what is possessed repeatedly: it refers to the dwelling, and instead the notion of inner territory. « (Pp. 407-408)

« The theory of hexis Christine Detrez allows both to unify our response to the problem of self-representation on the screen, but also to incorporate this approach into a broader perspective which is that of the study of representations as meaning construction: it is indeed the position it defended in the work cited. « (P. 409)

So what remains is unfortunate that I did not give a definition of explicit hexis bringing together all these points by including it in the perspective of the work already carried out on this subject by Bourdieu (habitus) and Detrez. The whole structure of reasoning appears in the section, but I did not bring editorial work reintegration references in different aspects. This work remains to be done …


My last part ends with a simplified model of economic what I call « predicative » of self-representation, to further emphasize the importance of proper interaction précicat part of primary shifters (Figure 113 predicative Economy (interactivity is represented by the broken line), p. 427)

The hysterization, as shown here, is an extension distortion sense, specularity and decentration. It is unfortunate that I have not made more explicit that figure.

2017-08-22 at 00-30-38

Figure 113 predicative Economy (interactivity is represented by the broken line)


The conclusion of the thesis is on the researcher’s experience and representation, in a similar form of mise en abyme of the representational system that I had to study, and I concluded this curveball by quoting a poem by Roberto Juarroz to signify that curveball (after all, I supported this thesis in a graduate school of Art and Sciences of Art!

« (…)

I now seek nor are.

I am here or elsewhere.

I redo beyond worried.

I am dedicated to the margins of the man and grown in a background that does not exist the tiny tenderness not to be.  »

Roberto Juarroz. Vertical poems.

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