Mapping Systems

Our readings from Bogost and Gee help us think about how systems work and how we learn to navigate through and participate in systems. For Bogost, “systems” can refer to something physical, mechanical, computational, conceptual, institutional, or anything else that functions in this way. Gee is particularly interested in systems that function as “semiotic domains,” places where people share a particular set of concerns, interests, perspectives, and assumptions.

Your challenge for today is to map out the various systems and semiotic domains in which you participate, in which you play (in Bogost’s sense of the term as exploring a possibility space). Your work should be added as a new post or page on your class site. First, identify the systems and semiotic domains themselves. Relevant systems and domains could include education (Bonaventure as a system), your major (English or Journalism or business as semiotic domains), religion, or other aspects of your world that shape your identity in some way. You can also consider systems that you use in some way: social media platforms, sports, extracurricular organizations or activities, etc. Which systems and domains are most important to you and your sense of your identity? How so?

Once you have a sense for the range of systems you participate in, focus on two or three of them and describe how they work in greater detail. What are the rules of the system? What sort of behaviors and values are you expected to exhibit as a member of this system or domain? What sorts of content (texts, ideas, knowledge, etc.) are relevant to you as a member of this system or domain? Also consider the interaction between systems and domains. Do any of them reinforce one another or complement each other? Are any systems in tension with one another? For example, does being a member of an organization complement or complicate your responsibilities as a student?

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