The Hermeneutic Circle of Data Visualization: the Case Study of the Affinity Map

In this article, we show how postphenomenology can be used to analyze a visual method that reveals the hidden dynamics that exist between individuals within large organizations. We make use of the Affinity Map to expand the classic postphenomenology that privileges a ‘linear’ understanding of technological mediations introducing the notions of ‘iterativity’ and ‘collectivity.’ In the first section, both classic and more recent descriptions of human-technology-world relations are discussed to transcendentally approach the discipline of data visualization. In the second section, the Affinity Map case study is used to stress three elements: 1) the collection of data and the design process; 2) the visual grammar of the data visualization, and 3) the process of self-recognition for the map ‘reader.’ In the third section, we introduce the hermeneutic circle of data visualization. Finally, in the concluding section, we put forth how the Affinity Map might be seen as the material encounter between postphenomenology, actor-network theory (ANT), and hermeneutics, through ethical and political multistability.

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Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 24, 2
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 Record created 2019-01-29, last modified 2020-10-27

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