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Placing subway signs. Pragmatical properties of signs at work

Abstract : Public spaces are made of lot of signs that take a great part in the construction of modern citizenship. Different kinds of exposed signs constitute essential means of equipment for the environments we are dwelling in and for individual persons. As some studies have stressed out the importance of emplacement and indexicality per se, we propose to switch the look and analyze the activity of workers in charge of signs placement. Ethnography of subway signs installation allows us to shed light on their invisible work that involves heterogeneous ways to treat signs. We assume that placement work enact different pragmatical properties for situated signs. According to circumstances, subway signs can be grasped as texts, indexes, landmarks, objects, part of a network and as a normative stake. For the signs perfomativity to be actualized, workers have to mobilize a composite knowledge that prioritize and articulate in situation these semiotics properties.
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Contributor : Jérôme Denis <>
Submitted on : Saturday, April 26, 2008 - 4:55:12 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 31, 2020 - 10:44:06 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, May 20, 2010 - 8:58:48 PM


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  • HAL Id : halshs-00274544, version 1


Jérôme Denis, David Pontille. Placing subway signs. Pragmatical properties of signs at work. Conference of the International Communication Association, May 2008, Montreal, Canada. pp.217-229. ⟨halshs-00274544⟩



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