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The Trace Factory. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 5186608
  • Book
  • March 2020
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
The collection and treatment of traces which reveal who we are and what we do naturally piques our interest when it pertains to others, and anxiety when it concerns ourselves. Do we truly know what a trace is? And if knowledge is power, how vulnerable are we in the public sphere? The demonstrability of a trace hides the complexity of the process that allows it to be produced, interpreted and used. This book proposes a reasoned approach to the analysis of the trace as an object and as a sign. By following such an approach, the reader will understand how the media participates in the creation and deployment of traces, and the issues raised by what can be traced on social media. The Trace Factory offers a historical perspective, returning to the founding theories of collecting and producing traces linked to knowledge and power in society. Observing technology and information through the prism of these theories, a large number of devices and their uses are evaluated. This book offers itself as a tool of thought and work for researchers, professionals and social actors of all kinds who are confronted with the existence, treatment and interpretation of the traces of society and culture.
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Introduction ix

Chapter 1. The Mediatized Trace of the Social World, the Object of Research 1

1.1. There are traces and traces 3

1.1.1. The avatars of a trace of use 4

1.1.2. Metamorphoses of the trace 8

1.1.3. Mediation, mediatization, device 10

1.2. The social trace as a problem: the legacy of the history of the book 12

1.2.1. From book to reading 12

1.2.2. A constellation of categories 15

1.2.3. Structural difficulties 18

1.3. Relevance and efficiency 21

1.3.1. The evasive relevance of the trace 22

1.3.2. An efficient figure of relevance 23

1.3.3. Trace as an interpretative schema 25

Chapter 2. The Schema of the Trace, a Paradoxical Semiotics 31

2.1. The false evidence of the Peircian index 35

2.1.1. The concept of index and semiotic theory 35

2.1.2. The index as a commonplace category 39

2.1.3. The production of indexicality 42

2.1.4. Assessment: a problematic legacy 46

2.2. The trace, appearance and presence of the past in the present 47

2.2.1. The photographic scene, here, now and in the past 50

2.2.2. The theoretical issue of Barthes’ analysis 54

2.3. From the archetype of the trace to its theoretical status 56

2.3.1. Photography as a commonplace archetype 56

2.3.2. From the trace schema to the deployment of devices 60

2.3.3. Photography as a pretext 62

2.4. The mediatized trace, a complex info-communication device 69

2.4.1. Device 71

2.4.2. Text 73

2.4.3. Representation77

2.4.4. Competence 81

2.4.5. Format 84

Chapter 3. The Complex Genesis of the Written Trace 87

3.1. The available inscription 91

3.1.1. Inscription as a framework for thought 92

3.1.2. Grammatology or philosophy in the camera obscura 95

3.1.3. Ichnology as radical logistics 97

3.2. The thickness of the traced-out 103

3.2.1. Actualized presentification in absentia 104

3.2.2. Between inscription device and graphic gesture 106

3.2.3. The traced-out feature, a figure of mediation 108

3.3. It has been… written 114

3.3.1. Signature, a social act between identification and authentication 116

3.3.2. Genetic criticism in the context of the trace/traced-out couple 119

3.4. The written trace as an institutional fact 130

3.4.1. The written trace, a scientific assumption 131

3.4.2. The written trace, a device of social knowledge power 141

3.4.3. The written trace, an educational mediation 145

Chapter 4. The Emerging Trace of the Media Text 151

4.1. The poetics of Mnemosyne: media forms and social memory 154

4.1.1. A mediatized space of thought 157

4.1.2. The trace schema questionned by the atlas of forms 164

4.1.3. The poetics of Mnemosyne at work in media analysis 171

4.2. Indexical reading of media texts 183

4.2.1. The textual witness as a ferment 184

4.2.2. The “index paradigm”, from its commonplace life to its heuristic scope 189

4.2.3. Quotations, from second hand to guestimates 202

4.3. Writing in the future perfect 213

4.3.1. Mnemosyne struggling with Lethe 217

4.3.2. Changes in authority, economy of writings and media genesis of traces 222

4.3.3. Memorial writing in devices 228

Conclusion 231

References 241

Index 259

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Yves Jeanneret
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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