Meaning Emergence in the Ecology of Dialogical Systems

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Abstract

This article is an empirically based theoretical contribution to the investigation of meaningmaking in the ecology of human interaction and interactivity. It presents an ecological perspective on meaning-making that pivots on how agents pick up information directly in their organism-environment-system; i.e. as an activity that does not presuppose inner cognitive operations. We pursue this line of thought by presenting an analysis of how a doctor and a nurse make a decision about a specific medical procedure (catheterisation) based on meaning-making activity. As we do not see meaning as a linguistic (symbolic) or a cognitive (representational) phenomenon external to an agent/user, but as emergent in coordinated interaction, we zoom in on how the practitioners recalibrate the organism-environmentsystem by shift ing between a multi-agentive mode and an individual mode. We use Cognitive Event Analysis to investigate how the agents oscillate between being a multi-agent-system with shared, tightly coordinated agency and a loosely coupled dialogical system where the individuals bring forth an understanding based on their professional backgrounds and expertise. On this view, an ecological approach to meaning-making takes a starting point in how local interaction is constrained by previous events, emergent affordances in the environment, and real-time inter-bodily dynamics. Accordingly, meaning-making is seen as a joint activity emerging from the system's coordinative actions rather than as a result of individual interpretation of symbolic content. © 2016 Sarah Bro Trasmundi et al., published by De Gruyter Open.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Language and Communication
Volume20
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)154-181
ISSN1234-2238
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this

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title = "Meaning Emergence in the Ecology of Dialogical Systems",
abstract = "This article is an empirically based theoretical contribution to the investigation of meaningmaking in the ecology of human interaction and interactivity. It presents an ecological perspective on meaning-making that pivots on how agents pick up information directly in their organism-environment-system; i.e. as an activity that does not presuppose inner cognitive operations. We pursue this line of thought by presenting an analysis of how a doctor and a nurse make a decision about a specific medical procedure (catheterisation) based on meaning-making activity. As we do not see meaning as a linguistic (symbolic) or a cognitive (representational) phenomenon external to an agent/user, but as emergent in coordinated interaction, we zoom in on how the practitioners recalibrate the organism-environmentsystem by shift ing between a multi-agentive mode and an individual mode. We use Cognitive Event Analysis to investigate how the agents oscillate between being a multi-agent-system with shared, tightly coordinated agency and a loosely coupled dialogical system where the individuals bring forth an understanding based on their professional backgrounds and expertise. On this view, an ecological approach to meaning-making takes a starting point in how local interaction is constrained by previous events, emergent affordances in the environment, and real-time inter-bodily dynamics. Accordingly, meaning-making is seen as a joint activity emerging from the system's coordinative actions rather than as a result of individual interpretation of symbolic content. {\circledC} 2016 Sarah Bro Trasmundi et al., published by De Gruyter Open.",
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Meaning Emergence in the Ecology of Dialogical Systems. / Trasmundi, S. B.; Steffensen, S. V.

In: Psychology of Language and Communication, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2016, p. 154-181.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - This article is an empirically based theoretical contribution to the investigation of meaningmaking in the ecology of human interaction and interactivity. It presents an ecological perspective on meaning-making that pivots on how agents pick up information directly in their organism-environment-system; i.e. as an activity that does not presuppose inner cognitive operations. We pursue this line of thought by presenting an analysis of how a doctor and a nurse make a decision about a specific medical procedure (catheterisation) based on meaning-making activity. As we do not see meaning as a linguistic (symbolic) or a cognitive (representational) phenomenon external to an agent/user, but as emergent in coordinated interaction, we zoom in on how the practitioners recalibrate the organism-environmentsystem by shift ing between a multi-agentive mode and an individual mode. We use Cognitive Event Analysis to investigate how the agents oscillate between being a multi-agent-system with shared, tightly coordinated agency and a loosely coupled dialogical system where the individuals bring forth an understanding based on their professional backgrounds and expertise. On this view, an ecological approach to meaning-making takes a starting point in how local interaction is constrained by previous events, emergent affordances in the environment, and real-time inter-bodily dynamics. Accordingly, meaning-making is seen as a joint activity emerging from the system's coordinative actions rather than as a result of individual interpretation of symbolic content. © 2016 Sarah Bro Trasmundi et al., published by De Gruyter Open.

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