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The help functions in relation with Human-Computer Interaction have been well analysed from the point of view of cognition and ergonomics. However, these studies have not addressed the appropriation process as such, which would be necessary to take into account the integration of help functions in the actual course of activity, in the stock of knowledge, and in enabling users to recover some degree of control over their sociotechnical world which is constantly being destabilized by technological innovation. Here, we shall have recourse to narratology, to the theory of affordances of Chateauraynaud, and to the anthropology of witchcraft. We shall demonstrate the need for a modalisation of help systems, not neglecting their material features, in order to disengage from the situation so as to better reengage the world, with an enhanced capacity for action and a real leverage on the situation. Recovering affordances in the situation of interaction with the machine requires accepting a minimum of aggressivity, which is akin to a conquering attitude in personal relationships. In this paper, the main example used for field studies is that of user manuals and help functions in word processing software.
Pour citer cet article :Boullier Dominique (2006/2). Affordances and Ascendancies in Human Computer Help System. Towards an Anthropology of Appropriation. In Gapenne Olivier & Boullier Dominique (Eds), Help Systems: A challenge for cognitive technology, Intellectica, 44, (pp.17-44), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2006.1290.