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Homo nuntius: messaging humanity

By John Hartley


This article analyzes the history and application of the term “the message” in communication, cultural, and media studies. It goes on to propose that conceptual coherence can only be achieved for this concept if it is considered historically and in evolutionary terms. The article then pursues recent changes in the status of “the message” through four phases of semiotic history — (1) the representative (modern), (2) the excessive (postmodern), (3) the productive (user-created), and (4) the message as human identity – Homo nuntius. Having arrived at a conceptualization of “messaging” as constitutive of our species, the final section provides the example of fashion communication to show what is meant by the term “Homo nuntius – messaging humanity.

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