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Title: A multimodal analysis of emancipatory discourse: A study of AWARE'S social awareness postcards.
Keywords: Emancipatory discourse, multimodal discourse analysis, Royce's intersemiotic complementarity, social awareness, critical discourse analysis
Issue Date: 13-Jan-2010
Citation: LESTER IAN LIM CHOONG SIANG (2010-01-13). A multimodal analysis of emancipatory discourse: A study of AWARE'S social awareness postcards.. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In recent years, there has been much emphasis on the (re)construction of emancipatory practices, for example, Leonard?s (1997) work on postmodern welfare and the reconstruction of an emancipatory project and Laird?s (2001) chapter on helping women resist oppression by finding their voices and changing women?s narratives. Particularly relevant and interesting to my study is Janks and Ivanic?s (1992) work on critical language awareness and emancipatory discourse. In their chapter, they define emancipatory discourse as ?using language, along with other aspects of social practice, in a way which works towards greater freedom and respect for all people? (Janks and Ivanic, 1992: 305). Much of the emphasis on emancipatory discourse and practices has however been on language practices. What this study argues for is a multimodal or multi-semiotic approach to emancipatory discourse, that is, emancipatory discourse should explore and analyse ways in which language along with other semiotic systems can be used towards working for greater freedom and respect for all people. To illustrate this, I will be analysing the language, visuals and the intersemiotic complementarity (Royce, 1998) between these two semiotic systems in ten postcard advertisements from the Association of Women for Action and Research (henceforth AWARE). By analysing these postcards, I herald them as salutary models of how emancipatory discourse can and should be multimodal in its approach. Further, I explore several mechanisms in multimodal texts which make use of multi-semiotic resources, to demonstrate how a mechanism such as a semiotic metaphor or a visually terse text allows for taboo and sensitive issues such as marital rape and date rape to be addressed in a non-threatening and emotive manner, which language as a semiotic system on its own often cannot do adequately. It is hoped that this study will encourage more work and research on appropriating multi-semiotic resources to making emancipatory discourse more effective, accessible, powerful and taking it to a different level. I recommend infusing the critical awareness of multimodal practices into education as this empowers people with knowledge of how visual images stereotype people, as well as encourage photographers, artists, graphic designers to participate in the designing and creation of multimodal emancipatory texts.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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