The affordances and constraints of situation and genre

The affordances and constraints of situation and genre Visuals are generally considered to be rich in information, but also to be open to many different interpretations. As a consequence, many argumentation scholars doubt that visuals can constitute argumentation (e.g. Fleming, 1996; Johnson, 2003, 2010; Patterson, 2010). In this paper, we argue that the rhetorical and argumentative potential of visuals and multimodal texts is strengthened if they belong to recognizable genres, genres being governed by discourse-internal factors as well as situational/pragmatic understanding. The genre of traffic signs can draw on specific genre conventions thanks to these signs’ highly coded nature. As a consequence, traffic signs constitute an exemplary category to make the point that visuals and multimodal texts can function rhetorically or even argumentatively. We support our claim by first analysing a number of unusual instances of the genre and then discussing a few visual and multimodal signs whose argumentative potential no longer depends on specific traffic-related circumstances but crucially depends on the pretence that they are traffic signs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Review of Pragmatics Brill

The affordances and constraints of situation and genre

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1877-3095
eISSN
1877-3109
DOI
10.1163/18773109-01002002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Visuals are generally considered to be rich in information, but also to be open to many different interpretations. As a consequence, many argumentation scholars doubt that visuals can constitute argumentation (e.g. Fleming, 1996; Johnson, 2003, 2010; Patterson, 2010). In this paper, we argue that the rhetorical and argumentative potential of visuals and multimodal texts is strengthened if they belong to recognizable genres, genres being governed by discourse-internal factors as well as situational/pragmatic understanding. The genre of traffic signs can draw on specific genre conventions thanks to these signs’ highly coded nature. As a consequence, traffic signs constitute an exemplary category to make the point that visuals and multimodal texts can function rhetorically or even argumentatively. We support our claim by first analysing a number of unusual instances of the genre and then discussing a few visual and multimodal signs whose argumentative potential no longer depends on specific traffic-related circumstances but crucially depends on the pretence that they are traffic signs.

Journal

International Review of PragmaticsBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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