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Building Bridges for Multimodal Research

International Perspectives on Theories and Practices of Multimodal Analysis


Edited By Janina Wildfeuer

While multimodality is one of the most influential semiotic theories for analysing media artefacts, the concepts of this theory are heterogeneous and widespread. The book takes the differences between approaches in Germany and those in international contexts as a starting point, offering new insights into the analysis of multimodal documents. It features contributions by researchers from more than 15 nations and various disciplines, including theoretical reflections on multimodality, thoughts about methodological, empirical, and experimental approaches as well as analyses of various multimodal artefacts.
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Bridging the Gap between Here and There: Combining Multimodal Analysis from International Perspectives



1 Introduction

Multimodal analysis and, more generally, its closely related notion of multimodality represent an extremely fashionable and highly discussed research area in the humanities (and beyond) that has experienced rapid evolution and advancements over the last 15 to 20 years. Since the groundbreaking work of Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen from the 1990s and early 2000s (Kress/van Leeuwen 1996, 2001, 2006; see also Kress 2010), many theoretical, methodological, and analytical developments across a multitude of disciplines have been put forth by researchers from all over the world. Several collections (cf., among others, Ventola/Charles/Kaltenbacher 2004; Eckkrammer/Held 2006; Royce/Bowcher 2007; O’Halloran/Smith 2011; Maiorani/Christie 2014, Norris/Maier 2014; Norris forthcoming), introductions (cf., e.g., Machin 2007; Serafini 2014), and handbooks for multimodal analysis (cf. Jewitt 2009, 2014), multimodality in human interaction (cf. Müller et al. 2013, 2014), language in a multimodal environment (cf. Klug/Stöckl forthcoming) as well as several further monographs mostly focusing on more specific aspects of multimodal analysis (see for example the book series Routledge Studies of Multimodality; see also Stöckl 2004; Fricke 2012; Bateman/Schmidt 2012; Sindoni 2013; Bateman 2014 – to name just a few) represent the multitude of interests and the range of topics subsumed under this keyword.

Understood as an approach to the simultaneous analysis of all semiotic resources in an artefact, multimodality is seen in these works as one of the most influential concepts for the semiotisation of diverse forms of communications, providing a range of frameworks for...

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