Journal article

Self-Recognition in Data Visualization: how people see themselves in social visualizations

Self-recognition is an intimate act performed by people. Inspired by Paul Ricoeur, we reflect upon the action of self-recognition, especially when data visualization represents the observer itself. Along the article, the reader is invited to think about this specific relationship through concepts like the personal identity stored in information systems, the truthfulness at the core of self-recognition, and the mutual-recognition among community members. In the context of highly interdisciplinary research, we unveil two protagonists in data visualization: the designer and the observer - the designer as the creator and the observer as the viewer of a visualization. This article deals with some theoretical aspects behind data visualization, a discipline more complex than normally expected. We believe that data visualization deserves a conceptual framework, and this investigation pursues this intention. For this reason, we look at the designer as not just a technician in the visualization production, but as a contemporary ethnologist - the designer as a professional working in a social environment to comprehend the context and formulate a specific inquiry with the help of appropriate visual languages.

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