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Utopian Discourses Across Cultures

Scenarios in Effective Communication to Citizens and Corporations

Miriam Bait, Marina Brambilla and Valentina Crestani

The term Utopia, coined by Thomas More in 1516, contains an inherent semantic ambiguity: it could be read as eu topos (good place) or ou topos (no place). The authors of this volume analyze this polysemous notion and its fascination for scholars across the centuries, who have developed a variety of visions and ways to explain the «realization» of utopian discourses. The experts in the fields of sociology, political science, economics, computer science, literature and linguistics offer extensive studies about how utopian scenarios are realized in different cultural contexts.

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Online University Presentations in German: Virtual, Utopian and Green. A Multimodal Analysis



1.  Introduction

In our paper, we propose a multimodal analysis of texts that belong to the genre of online presentations. We focus our attention specifically on university presentations as forms of institutional communication, which follows the model ‘one-to-many’. The institution presents itself to students and their families with the main purpose of informing them about available educational offerings. On the one hand, these presentations have an informative function; on the other hand, they also have a persuasive function in which utopian ideals are used as strategic elements to communicate effectively and to reach readers emotionally. By underlining values like open-mindedness, along with attention to young talent and merit, the communication conveys positive feelings like happiness, interest and hope to its readers. We refer to the utopian side of the university communication as green utopia, a concept related to the ecology-based idea of sustainability.

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