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Postsocial life, post-human ethics and material semiotics: how language matters

Grant number: 14/25315-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): July 06, 2015
Effective date (End): February 01, 2016
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Applied Linguistics
Principal Investigator:Marcelo El Khouri Buzato
Grantee:Marcelo El Khouri Buzato
Host Investigator: Jay Lemke
Host Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), United States  


Driven by the growing hypertechnologization of Brazilian citizens' everyday life, this project is aimed at preparing an integrated set of theoretical and methodological tools for the analysis, review and critique of digitized consumer/citizen care systems, with a view to increasing the intelligibility of the factors conducive to social conflict and human suffering in the use of such services. An interdisciplinary course of research is proposed as to situate meaning-making practicies in emerging theoretical approaches about the nature of the social and the human in the social and biological sciences, gathered under the umbrella terms 'post-society' and 'post-humanity'. The central issue to be considered is the need to reconcile, from the point of view of how meaning is produced, metaphysical networked presence, featuring in social gatherings mediated by digitized citizen/consumer care systems, with the notion of ethical encounters as face-to-face interactions place among social agents characterized necessarily as atomized, embodied, copresent human beings. It is proposed that these notions can be made compatible around the production of more ethical digitized citizen/consumer care systems, and, as a consequence, that consistent and productive dialogue among the various professional fields and disciplines involved can be facilitated, by the construction of a theoretical-methodological framework that integrates one or more semiotics of signs with material semiotics, also known as Actor Network-Theory, aiming at a common scope of analytical and propositive interdisciplinary action. The method employed will be qualitative analysis of bibliographical reviews, structured along three thematic areas, namely: ethics, meaning and post-society/post-humanity, the latter being treated as an eminently interdisciplinary theme. Ten research questions were elaborated of which the answers will be interrelated with the aid of a quantitative analysis software and informal partial reports to be discussed with peers in the hosting institution. The bibliography focuses, along the 'ethics' axis, classic works in social sciences, and handbooks on engineering and information systems' ethics. In the 'meaning making' axis, fundamental works in French semiotics, which has strongly influenced the genesis of material semiotics/Actor-Network Theory, and recent works in social semiotics relating meaning and feeling to material processes in dynamic open systems. With respect to the third axis, the privileged sources will be taken from the work of sociologist Karen Knorr-Cetina, a precursor of the concept of post-society, and of literary theorist Kathrin N. Hayles, who is internationally recognized for her comprehensive investigation of various aspects and philosophical foundations of the post-human thought. Both authors' works present discussions that refer directly or indirectly to the subject of interdisciplinarity, which will be deepened whenever deemed relevant. The results of this study will be disseminated initially by means of an article to be submitted to an international journal of good interdisciplinary impact at the end of the fellowship, and, later, through supervision of theses, authored book chapters and presentations in scientific meetings held in Brazil. As its main contribution, it is expected that this research will facilitate the investigative analysis, development and reformulation of digitized citizen/customer service systems present in the Brazilian citizens' everyday life. In addition, it is intended to contribute to proposition of new directions for research on meaning-making practices in digital culture within Brazilian Applied Linguistics. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BUZATO, MARCELO EL KHOURI. Towards a theoretical mashup for studying posthuman/postsocial ethics. JOURNAL OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION & ETHICS IN SOCIETY, v. 15, n. 1, p. 74-89, . (14/25315-7)

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