Between functionalism and semiotics: two ways to change the functions and meanings of technical objects

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The article is devoted to the analysis of practices and ways of inventing new functions of technical objects. The purpose of the work is to identify, classify and describe practices that cause new functions of technical objects. The function of a technical object (artifact) is understood as the work performed by an artifact and aimed at realizing a certain purpose set by a person. The authors analyze the duality of the nature of the artifact, due to its physical structure and its involvement in purposeful human activity. The functional and semiotic approaches to understanding technology are compared. The differences between function and meaning of artifacts are identified. The case method is used to analyze how new artifact functions appear. Reinterpretation is defined as a way to create new meanings for an artifact without changing its physical structure of the artifact. Adaptation is considered as the adaptation of technical objects to the needs of the user.
It is shown that new functions appear in artifacts both on the physical level, through the introduction of constructive changes, and on the semiotic level, through the transformation of the semantic content of objects. In the final part of the article, a conclusion about the possibility of applying the results obtained in the field of marketing and promotion of technical systems and devices is made.

About the authors

Natalya A. Yastreb

Vologda State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6635-6008

Dr. phil. habil., Associate Professor, director of the Institute of Human and Social Sciences

Russian Federation, 15, Lenina St., Vologda, 160035, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2021 Yastreb N.A.

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