Studies of digital communication technologies often focus on the apparently unique set of multimodal resources afforded to users and the development of innovative linguistic strategies for performing mediatised identities and maintaining online social networks.
This edited volume interrogates the novelty of such practices by establishing a transhistorical approach to the study of digital communication. The transhistorical approach explores language practices as lived experiences grounded in historical contexts, and aims to identify those elements of human behaviour that transcend historical boundaries, looking beyond specific developments in communication technologies to understand the enduring motivations and social concerns that drive human communication.
The volume reveals long-term patterns in the indexical functions of seemingly innovative written and multimodal resources and the ideologies that underpin them, and shows that methods are not necessarily contingent on their datasets: historical analytic frameworks can be applied to digital data and newer approaches used to understand historical data. These insights present exciting opportunities for English language researchers, both historical and modern.
Caroline Tagg, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK;
Mel Evans, University of Leicester, UK