Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 21, 2017

Visual rhetorical argumentation

Jens E. Kjeldsen
From the journal Semiotica

Abstract

In semiotics and the study of pictorial communication, the conceptualization of visual rhetoric and argumentation has been dominated by two connected approaches: firstly, by providing an understanding of visual rhetoric through tropes and figures; and secondly, by interpreting pictures as texts that are read and decoded in the same way as words. Because these approaches provide an opportunity to understand pictures as a form of language, they contribute in explaining how pictures can be used to argue. At the same time, however, these approaches seem to under-communicate two central aspects of pictorial argumentation: its embedment in specific situations and the distinguishing phenomenological aesthetics of pictures. This paper argues that the study of visual argumentation must understand pictures both as language and as a material aesthetic event. The possibility and actuality of visual argumentation is partly explained by understanding argumentation as a cognitive and situational phenomenon, and partly by introducing the notion of symbolic condensation. It is suggested that reconstruction of visual argumentation should be supported by reception analysis.

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Published Online: 2017-11-21
Published in Print: 2018-01-26

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