The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our everyday lives – from the political to the economic to the social. Using a multimodal discourse analysis approach, this dynamic collection examines various discourses, modes and media in circulation during the early stages of the pandemic, and how these have impacted our daily lives in terms of the various meanings they express.
Examples include how national and international news organisations communicate important information about the virus and the crisis, the public’s reactions to such communications, the resultant (counter-)discourses as manifested in social media posts and memes, as well as the impact social distancing policies and mobility restrictions have had on people’s communication and interaction practices. The book offers a synoptic view of how the pandemic was communicated, represented and (re-)contextualised across different spheres, and ultimately hopes to help account for the significant changes we are continuing to witness in our everyday lives as the pandemic unfolds.
This volume will appeal primarily to scholars in the field of (multimodal) discourse analysis. It will also be of interest to researchers and graduate students in other fields whose work focuses on the use of multimodal artefacts for communication and meaning making.
The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.
Table of contents
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
1. Discourses, modes, media and meaning in an era of pandemic: A multimodal discourse analysis approach
Sabine Tan and Marissa K. L. E
Part I. Use of semiotic modes/resources in COVID-19 discourses
2. ‘Stay at home’: Speech acts in Arab political cartoons on COVID-19 pandemic
3. Communication as ‘Graphic Medicine’: A multimodal social semiotic approach
Marissa K. L. E and Sabine Tan
Part II. Use of media/media technologies in COVID-19 discourses
4. Design considerations for digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Losses and gains
Fei Victor Lim and Weimin Toh
5. Phraseology and imagery in UK public health agency COVID-19 tweets
David Oakey, Christian Jones and Kay L. O'Halloran
Part III. Communicative functions/strategies of COVID-19 discourses
6. Australian universities engaging international students during the COVID-19 pandemic: A study of multimodal public communications with students
Zuocheng Zhang, Toni Dobinson and Wei Wang
7. "We are in this together": Cultural branding and affective activations in a pandemic context
Carl Jon Way Ng
8. Defamiliarise to engage the public: A multimodal study of a science video about COVID-19 on Chinese social media
Zhang Yiqiong, Tan Rongle, Marissa K. L. E and Sabine Tan
9. Beyond Reporting: The communicative functions of social media news during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Yuanzheng Wu and Dezheng (William) Feng
10. Exploring strategies of multimodal crisis and risk communication in the business and economic discourses of global pandemic news
Carmen Daniela Maier and Silvia Ravazzani
Part IV. Wider communicative meanings/purposes of COVID-19 discourses
11. “Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Make Memes”: A multimodal discourse analysis of UK internet memes during the COVID-19 pandemic
12. Everyday acts of social-semiotic inquiry: Insights into emerging practices from the research collective PanMeMic
Elisabetta Adami and Emilia Djonov
List of contributors
Ahmed Abdel-Raheem is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany. Before joining the University of Bremen, he held lectureship and research positions at Umm al- Qura University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (2012-2013) and Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland (2017-2019). He is the author of Pictorial Framing in Moral Politics: A Corpus-based Experimental Study (Routledge, 2019), and has published internationally in a number of journals, such as Discourse and Society, Metaphor and the Social World, Visual Communication Quarterly, Graphic Novels and Comics, Cognitive Linguistic Studies, Information Design Journal, Multimodal Communication, Social Semiotics, Pragmatics and Cognition, Cultural Cognitive Science, Journal of Pragmatics, and Intercultural Pragmatics.
Elisabetta Adami is Associate Professor in Multimodal Communication at the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds, UK. Her research specialises in social semiotic multimodal analysis. She is currently working on developing theories and methods for the analysis of inter- cross- and trans-cultural communication, with a focus on issues of mediation and translation. Recent publications include journal articles, edited special issues and volumes on sign-making practices in place (on urban visual landscapes and superdiversity), in digital environments (on webdesign and interactivity, YouTube, mobile devices, and issues of digital literacy) and in face-to-face interaction (in intercultural contexts and in deaf-hearing interactions). She is editor of Multimodality and Society, coordinates PanMeMic, and leads Multimodality@Leeds.
Avery Anapol is a writer and editor with professional experience in social media, news editing and political reporting. She completed her MA in Applied Linguistics at University College London, UK with distinction in September 2020. Her master’s dissertation, supervised by Sophia Diamantopoulou, applied a multimodal social semiotic theoretical framework to explore the social functions and discourses of coronavirus memes.
Emilia Djonov is Senior Lecturer in multiliteracies at Macquarie University, Australia. Her research in social semiotics, semiotic technology, and multimodality has been published in journals such as Visual Communication, Social Semiotics, and Text & Talk. She has co-edited the volumes Critical Multimodal Studies of Popular Discourse (Routledge, 2014, with Sumin Zhao) and Advancing Multimodal and Critical Discourse Studies (Routledge, 2018, with Zhao, Björvall and Boeriis), serves on the editorial boards of Multimodal Communication Journal (De Gruyter) and Linguistics and Education (Elsevier), and is a founding member of PanMeMic.
Toni Dobinson is an Associate Professor and Discipline Lead in Applied Linguistics, TESOL and Languages at Curtin University, Australia. She coordinates and teaches the Post Graduate Programmes in this area in Perth and Vietnam. She is the winner of multiple teaching awards at faculty, university and national level (Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT)) for her culturally inclusive approach. She researches in the areas of language teacher education, language and identity, language and social justice, translingual practices. She has published in numerous Tier 1 journals including the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, HERD, Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and Language Teaching Research. She is the co-editor of the book Literacy Unbound: Multiliterate, Multilingual, Multimodal (2019, Springer).
Marissa K. L. E is currently a Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore. Her research interests include systemic functional linguistics, critical multimodal discourse analysis and conceptual metaphor theory. She has published and presented in the areas of social semiotics, multimodal discourse analysis, multiliteracies and the use of multimodality for educational purposes. She has recently published papers from her PhD work involving the use of an inter-disciplinary approach to examine neoliberal discourses in the context of higher education and how neoliberal logic and subjectivities are represented in such discourses. This approach utilised an innovative theoretical framework combining aspects of Discourse Theory with Critical Discourse Analysis. Prior to her role at CELC, she had previously worked on research projects in digital humanities, social semiotics and multimodal discourse analysis.
Dezheng (William) Feng is Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Research Centre for Professional Communication in English at the Department of English and communication, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. His research focuses on the critical and multimodal discourse analysis of various media and communication practices. His publications appeared in journals such as Journal of Pragmatics, Discourse and Communication, and Visual Communication.
Christian Jones is a Reader in TESOL and Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Liverpool. His main research interests are connected to spoken language and he has published research related to spoken corpora, lexis, lexico grammar and instructed second language acquisition. He is the co-author (with Daniel Waller) of Corpus Linguistics for Grammar: A guide for research (Routledge, 2015), Successful Spoken English: Findings from Learner Corpora (with Shelley Byrne and Nicola Halenko) (Routledge, 2017), Editor of Literature, Spoken Language and Speaking Skills in Second Language Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and author of Conversation Strategies and Communicative Competence (Candlin and Mynard, 2021).
Fei Victor Lim is Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He researches and teaches on multiliteracies, multimodal discourse analyses, and digital learning. He is an editor of Multimodality and Society and an associate editor of Asia Pacific Journal of Education, and Designs for Learning. He is also author of the book ‘Designing Learning with Embodied Teaching: Perspectives from Multimodality’, published in the Routledge Studies in Multimodality.
Carmen Daniela Maier is Associate Professor at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. Her areas of interest and expertise include among others visual and multimodal crisis communication, CSR communication, environmental communication, knowledge communication and social semiotics. She is author of Visual crisis communication (2020) and co-author with Jan Engberg of Multimodal generic trends of Harvard Business Review knowledge communication in and beyond social media context (2022). With Silvia Ravazzani, she has co-authored several works focused on multimodal communication, such as Strategic Organizational Discourse and Framing in Hypermodal Spaces published in Corporate Communications, which was awarded with Outstanding Paper Award Winner in the 2018 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence. Their forthcoming publications on visual and multimodal research include the book chapters Visual crisis communication: A social semiotic approach to visual dialogues on social media and Climate crisis communication in global news videos: A multimodal discourse approach to multifaceted knowledge and reaction management. Together with Sigrid Norris, she is co-editor of Interactions, Images and Texts. A Reader in Multimodality. She serves on the editorial board of the Multimodal Communication journal.
Carl Jon Way Ng is Head of the English Language and Literature Programme in the School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. His academic interests lie broadly in critical discourse studies, particularly in multimodal approaches to the analysis of corporate and political discourses. He has published in journals such as Journal of Sociolinguistics, Journal of Language and Politics and Discourse & Communication. His current research focuses on how affect is cultivated for corporate and political objectives.
David Oakey is a lecturer in TESOL and Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Liverpool, UK. His research interest is in the description, acquisition, and pedagogy of lexis, formulaic language, and phraseology, particularly in interdisciplinary discourse situations where users encounter unfamiliar meanings of familiar words. He uses corpus linguistics and usage-based approaches to look at the behaviours of forms, meanings, and patterns, and has published on various aspects of this work. He has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in English lexis and corpus linguistics at universities in China, Turkey, the UK, and the USA.
Kay O’Halloran is Chair Professor and Head of Department of Communication and Media in the School of the Arts at the University of Liverpool. She is an internationally recognised leading academic in the field of multimodal analysis, involving the study of the interaction of language with other resources in texts, interactions and events. In particular, a key focus of her work is the development of digital tools and techniques for multimodal analysis. Kay is developing mixed methods approaches that combine multimodal analysis, data mining and visualisation for big data analytics within and across different media platforms.
Silvia Ravazzani is Associate Professor in Management at the Department of Business LECB "Carlo A. Ricciardi", Università IULM, Italy, since 2019. Previously she held the same position at the Department of Management at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her research interests include organisational discourse, crisis communication, social media, employee communication, diversity & inclusion, and intercultural communication. With Carmen Daniela Maier, she has co-authored several works focused on multimodal communication, such as Strategic Organizational Discourse and Framing in Hypermodal Spaces published in Corporate Communications, which was awarded with Outstanding Paper Award Winner in the 2018 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence. Their forthcoming publications on visual and multimodal research include the book chapters Visual crisis communication: A social semiotic approach to visual dialogues on social media and Climate crisis communication in global news videos: A multimodal discourse approach to multifaceted knowledge and reaction management. She is vice-chair in the Crisis Communication Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association, and Senior Project Leader of the Centre for Employee Relations and Communication of Università IULM. She is also part of the Editorial Board of Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research and of European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management.
Rongle Tan is a Ph.D candidate in the School of Education at Macquarie University, Australia. His research interests include social semiotics, critical and multimodal discourse analysis, multiliteracies and embodied teaching.
Sabine Tan is a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University, Australia. She has a background in critical multimodal discourse analysis, social semiotics, and visual communication. She has applied multidisciplinary perspectives for the analysis of institutional discourses involving traditional and new media. She has worked on interdisciplinary projects involving the development of interactive software for the multimodal analysis of images, videos and 360-degree videos for research and educational purposes. Her work has been published in international journals, including Critical Discourse Studies, Discourse & Communication, Semiotica, Social Semiotics, Text & Talk, and Visual Communication. She is an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Communication, Visual Communication section, and an Editorial Board Member of Discourse, Context & Media.
Weimin Toh is a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His main research areas are social semiotics, multimodal discourse analysis/multimodality, game studies, narratology, and game-based learning. He is the author of ‘A Multimodal Approach to Video Games and the Player Experience’, published in the Routledge Studies in Multimodality.
Wei Wang is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research interests include discourse studies, sociolinguistics, translation studies, and language education. His recent research focuses on sociolinguistics and (critical) discourse analysis, especially contemporary Chinese discourse, and is characterised by a highly interdisciplinary approach. His recent book publications include Ethnic identities of Kam People in Contemporary China: Government versus Local Perspectives (Routledge, 2021) and Analysing Chinese Language and Discourse across Layers and Genres (Benjamins, 2020). His journal articles appear in Discourse Studies, Applied Linguistics Review, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, Journal of Chinese Language and Discourse, Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Perspectives, and many other international academic journals.
Yiqiong Zhang is is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Center for Linguistics & Applied Linguistics at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (China). She obtained her PhD from the National University of Singapore in 2013, and was named Fulbright Scholar in 2020. Her research focuses mainly on digital communication, covering areas about Multimodal Discourse Analysis, Cross-cultural Studies, Science Communication, and Multiliteracies. Her publications appear in journals such as Critical Discourse Studies, Linguistics and Education, Text & Talk, Semiotica, Internet Pragmatics etc. She is on the Editorial Board of the journal "Multimodality & Society".
Zuocheng Zhang is a Senior Lecturer in English, Literacies and Language Education at the School of Education, University of New England, Australia. He teaches a range of literacy and TESOL education units and supervises PhD and Masters research students in these areas. His current research centres around disciplinary literacies and teacher development, interculturality and multimodal construction of engagement, prestige and purpose in international student education. He has published in these areas, including a recent monograph Learning Business English in China: The Construction of Professional Identity with Palgrave Macmillan (2017) and the co-edited book International Student Education in Tertiary Settings: Interrogating Programs and Processes in Diverse Contexts with Routledge (2021).
Yuanzheng Wu is currently a doctoral student at Faculty of Humanities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. Her research interests include multimodality and discourse analysis.