On the Meaning of Screens: Towards a Phenomenological Account of Screenness

Human Studies 29 (1):57-76 (2006)
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Abstract

This paper presents a Heideggerian phenomenological analysis of screens. In a world and an epoch where screens pervade a great many aspects of human experience, we submit that phenomenology, much in a traditional methodological form, can provide an interesting and novel basis for our understanding of screens. We ground our analysis in the ontology of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time [1927/1962], claiming that screens will only show themselves as they are if taken as screens-in-the-world. Thus, the phenomenon of screen is not investigated in its empirical form or conceptually. It is rather taken as a grounding intentional orientation that conditions our engagement with certain surfaces as we comport ourselves towards them “as screens.” In doing this we claim to have opened up the phenomenon of screen in a new and meaningful way.

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Lucas Introna
Lancaster University