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Face in Trouble – From Physiognomics to Facebook


Edited By Olga Szmidt and Katarzyna Trzeciak

This book analyzes unobvious relations between historical definitions of the face and its contemporary usage in popular culture and social media, like Facebook or Instagram. Bringing together a wide range of methodologies, it includes essays from manifold disciplines of the humanities such as philosophy, literary and art criticism, media and television studies, game studies, sociology and anthropology. The authors focus on both metaphorical and material meanings of the face. They grapple with crucial questions about modernity, modern and postmodern subjectivity, as well as with origins of certain linguistic terms and popular, colloquial phrases based on the concept of the face.

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Face 2.0. A philosophical approach to Facebook’s semiotic facialization (Mathieu Corteel)


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Mathieu Corteel

Face 2.0. A philosophical approach to Facebook’s semiotic facialization

This paper highlights the subjectification process in Facebook’s semiotics. The aim is to explain the individuation, or production of identity, at work in this web machine. Through this study of Facebook as a machine that produces signs, an ontological structure emerges. The self’s state of flux is produced by subjectification and intersubjectivity. The face is coded, decoded and overcoded by the flow of desire and gazes. The model of the face developed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus lets us give a precise explanation for this production of semiotic identities. This present paper is focused on a comparative study of the concept of faciality and the Facebook device. Furthermore, by questioning the concept of faciality in the age of new technologies, it leads us to explore posthumanism. From a philosophical perspective, this machine is a political device. With the face, posthumanist society defines a new model for recording a fluid identity, containing large amounts of data. Having a face is a societal injunction. We construct it through norms and values. Thereby everyone shares his or her personal data. Meanwhile, we are regulated by a latent power.

Keywords: Facebook, faciality, Deleuze and Guattari, individuation, posthumanism


The face is a structure. It is a particular image of myself. It is also a common identity shared in the Sittlichkeit. A photograph of the face appears...

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