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Approaches to social semiotics and social media

Ven, 10/04/2024
Il Call for papers è aperto fino al

Université Paris Nanterre
92100 Nanterre

The 20th century marked many new approaches to linguistic enquiry, including an interest in the interplay between multiple resources to construe meaning, as well as a focus on the social dimension of language and the way language is informed by specific social, cultural and institutional contexts. The interplay between linguistic and non-linguistic resources, and particularly the visual medium, have been the subject of a number of semiotic and multimodal theories. These theories have served multiple types of objects of study (e.g., static/moving; two/three-dimensional; object/space), and include objects as varied as body language (e.g. Ferré 2019), dance (e.g. Maiorani 2020), the printed page, picturebooks (Painter 2017), slide presentations (e.g. Rowley-Jolivet 2004, Zhao, Djonov and van Leeuwen 2014), the spatial organisation of museums and commercial spaces (e.g. Ravelli and McMurtie 2016), video content, toys, video games (Hawreliak 2019) and language learning (Guichon and Tellier 2017). More recently, the attention placed on the digital medium has extended to social media, which play host to many new types of configurations of resources that condition new behaviours, challenge previous categories, and hence warrant specific examination.

This conference aims to bring together scholars who integrate semiotic and multimodal analysis into their linguistic analyses, and to take as a common object of study the example of social media content. The main purpose of the conference is to compare and contrast various theoretical approaches, and to engage a conversation in terms of epistemology. One axis of enquiry will be to explore the heritage of social semiotic theory as developed within the framework of systemic functional linguistics (e.g., Kress and van Leeuwen 1996, 2005; Van Leeuwen 2005; Zhao, Djonov, Björkvall and Boeriis 2017), exploring the potential of the applications of its “grammar of visual design”, and comparing it with other approaches. The discussion will be further enriched by general digital discourse theory (e.g., Combe 2019; Jones 2020; Jones and Hafner 2021; Paveau 2017; Tagg 2015), and by studies relating to content produced in a English and/or French language context.

We welcome proposals which explore for instance:
- the interplay between linguistic (text) and non-linguistic resources (e.g., image, photograph, video) engendered by social media content within a specific platform or across platforms (e.g. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Twitter/X, etc.);
- the new configurations of meaning born out of new digital discourse practices;
- the influence of built-in technical options (captions, music, filters etc.) in social media video, and, more generally, the influence of technical constraints (e.g., algorithms);
- applications within the fields of literacy, visual literacy, media literacy (first and second-language learning);
- the impetus placed on the visual medium within contemporary (digital) communication culture.

Plenary speaker: Sumin Zhao, University of Edinburgh
Languages of the conference: English and French
Organised by the AFLSF (Association française de linguistique systémique fonctionnelle) in association with the Centre de Recherches en Etudes Anglophones (CREA - EA 370) / Discours et Pratiques du discours : Recherches en Anglais Contemporain, with the support of CREA - EA 370

Deadline for Proposals (250-300 words - to be submitted to Fiona Rossette (rossette@parisnanterre.fr) and Clive Hamilton (clive.hamilton@u-paris.fr) May 31, 2024

Fiona Rossette, Université Paris Nanterre
Clive Hamilton, Université Paris Diderot
Fiona Rossette
E-mail di contatto
Association française de linguistique systémique fonctionnelle (AFLSF)