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Multimodal Communication

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The Organised Self and Lifestyle Minimalism: Multimodal Deixis and Point of View in Decluttering Vlogs on YouTube

Michele ZappavignaORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4004-9602
Published Online: 2019-05-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mc-2019-0001


This paper explores how people present their relationship to their domestic objects in decluttering vlogs on YouTube, where they show the process of getting rid of undesired items. These videos are associated with discourses of ‘minimalism’ that are currently prevalent on social media platforms. The paper adopts a multimodal social semiotic approach, focusing on how language, gesture, and the visual frame coordinate intermodally to make meanings about objects. The multimodal construction of deixis in coordination with a type of ‘point-of-view shot’, filmed from the visual perspective of the vlogger, is examined. The broader aim is to investigate what these videos reveal about how digital semiotic capitalism is inflecting the lived experience of social media users. What is at stake is how people articulate intersubjective meanings about their experiences and relationships through the way they communicate about their objects.

Keywords: social media; YouTube; multimodality; deixis; point of view; social semiotics; minimalism; discourse analysis


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About the article

Michele Zappavigna

Michele Zappavigna is a senior lecturer in the School of Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales. Her major research interest is the discourse of social media and ambient affiliation. Recent books include: Searchable Talk: Hashtags and Social Media Metadiscourse (Bloomsbury, 2018), Discourse of Twitter and Social Media (Bloomsbury, 2012), Researching the Language of Social Media (Routledge, 2014, with Ruth Page, Johann Unger and David Barton), and Discourse and Diversionary Justice: An Analysis of Ceremonial Redress in Youth Justice Conferencing (Palgrave, 2018, with J.R. Martin).

Published Online: 2019-05-21

Citation Information: Multimodal Communication, Volume 8, Issue 1, 20190001, ISSN (Online) 2230-6587, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mc-2019-0001.

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