Embodying epistemicity

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The present paper analyses a corpus of bureaucratic-institutional interactions between migrants and civil servants, in order to investigate the role of objects in negotiating the certainty of information. During the encounters, documents are employed as means to provide and assess information; furthermore, the encounters produce a final artifact (e.g., a filled form), which constitutes the basis for providing a public service. Such objects are both related to, and constitutive of, the activities performed: they are “called into existence” by the interactants, within the temporal development and spatial arrangement of the interaction. Building on data collected within two European Grundtvig projects, the paper takes into account the semiotic resources deployed by the interactants for dealing with the objects, the patterns of actions in which objects are involved their relevance for negotiating the certainty of information.


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