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Philip Jones

Published date
19 Jun 2018

The bones of the book: schematic structure and meaning made from books

London College of Communication

Taking place against a background of technical innovation in which e-book readers offer alternative reading experiences and microelectronics are incorporated into the fabric of the book, this practice-led study seeks to critically evaluate ways in which books provide resources, in addition to writing and imagery, that participate in meaning making.

Rather than approaching the book as a neutral format that transparently contains and re-presents information, this study investigates an alternative understanding of the book; one in which written, visual, spatial, tactile and kinaesthetic cues can all be utilised by readers to recall, construct and fix conceptual structure.

These processes are approached as a form of conceptual integration (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002) where concepts evoked by the book as a whole are blended, enabling new meaning to emerge. Such blends can involve metaphorical associations utilising two different conceptual domains. For example, the book format tunnel-book uses a metaphor that suggests a way of thinking about all books, whereby structure from the source domain of tunnel is projected onto the target domain of book.

Abstract structures, participating in blends and metaphorical association, are sought so that they can be 'filled-in' or instantiated in various ways, by texts and through book design, enabling users to think about the book format in different ways.


Daphne Plessner

Jeff Bezemer (external)

Professor Teal Triggs (external)