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How to Do Things with Pictures

Skill, Practice, Performance


Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri

Pictorial meaning involves not just resemblance, but also pictorial skills, pictorial acts, practices, and performance. Especially in the classroom setting, at all levels of education, it is essential to realize that teaching with pictures and learning through pictures is a practical enterprise where thinking is embedded in doing. Promoting visual learning means to be a visionary, and to take on an enormous educational challenge. But while adaptation and innovation are inevitable in a world where technological changes are rapidly and radically altering the learning environment, educational science and the everyday practice of education clearly need to retain a measure of conservatism. And any conservatism worth the name has to take account of visuality, visual thinking, and visual learning.


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Pictorial Irony in ARC Billboards. Anita Schirm


100 Petra Aczél ing, imagery-provoking, and proximate in a sensory, temporal, or spatial way.52 Intense, imagistic and figurative communication exemplifies this language in which metaphor plays an important, dominant role. Metaphors – according to the meta-analytic review of Sopory and Dillard53 – produce greater attitude change than their literal counterparts, than the use of large numbers, when there is high familiarity of the target, when they are heard or seen, rather than read. These findings support the view that metaphors are most successful in oral speeches and in the context of common “wisdom”; a view that is theorized in both Giambattista Vico’s rhetorical and philosophical treatises and in Ernest G. Bormann’s symbolic convergence theory. Because of the former being, in some rhetorical aspects, the forerunner of the latter, the humanist and symbolic para- digm reinforces theoretically the need to revisit and re-introduce those principles of rhetorical education that facilitate visionary, imagistic communication. The intellectual venture presented here attempted to cast light on the theo- retical and practical character of visionary rhetorical speech and the way it is taught in order to offer a counterargument for rhetoric as mainly verbally per- suasive. 52 Richard Nisbett – Lee Ross, Human Inference: Strategies and Shortcomings of Social Judgement, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1980, p. 45. 53 Pradeep Sopory – James Price Dillard, ”Figurative Language and Persuasion”, in J. P. Dillard – M. Pfau (eds.), The Persuasion Handbook: Developments in Theory and Prac- tice, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002, pp. 407–426. Pictorial Irony in ARC Billboards...

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