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Indexing authenticity in visual political (social media) communication: a metapragmatics-based analysis of two visual registers of the authentic

Authors
  • Blasch, Lisa1
  • 1 Institute of Germanic Languages and Literature, University of Innsbruck Faculty of Humanities 2 Language and Literature, Innrain 52d, 6020 , (Austria)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Multimodal Communication
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Jan 26, 2021
Volume
10
Issue
1
Pages
37–53
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/mc-2020-0019
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

In this paper, I apply a metapragmatics-based approach to visual communication, combined with adapted concepts of Social Semiotics (“visual modality”) and CDA-oriented visual analysis (“canons of use”), to reconstruct two visual registers of authenticity which are prevailing within a social media photo sample of recent Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz (Facebook, Instagram; total of 84 photos), posted during the parliamentary elections in 2017. Triangulated with the discourse analysis of the marketing manager’s metapragmatic reflections on this social media campaign, the study shows how the partly intertwined registers of (1) “professional sensorism” (as a blended register comprising emblems of sensory modality and balanced composition, thereby drawing on the conceptualization of authenticity as sensory and affective experience of “now”) and (2) “voyeuristic fictionalization” (comprising indexicals associated with fiction genre, and based on the notion of authenticity as arising via “unnoticed observing”) are conceptualized and implemented as a—superior—visual stylization, acting as a social positioning, in mediatized political communication.

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