The Tactics of Everyday Practice: A Semiotic Approach to Appropriation

Jan Derboven, David Geerts, Dirk De Grooff, pp. 99 - 120, 




This paper presents a semiotic approach to the phenomenon of appropriation, focusing on the tension between technology design and the users’ practice. On the one hand, we focus on how the technology itself, through its design, guides its users. On the other hand, we investigate how users appropriate technology, developing specific practices to meet their own needs, resisting the guidance offered through the design. We present two case studies in educational technology: children’s appropriation of an educational game, and teacher’s appropriation of a learning management system to fit their specific communication needs. Based on the case study results, we describe how the semiotic approach leads to a better understanding of how the structure of technology mediates users’ appropriation practices. 

keywords: Appropriation, Semiotics, Multimodality.


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