Chapter 11. Multimodal legitimation

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In this paper I look at legitimation in multimodal texts. By focusing first upon genre analysis from a social semiotic perspective, and highlighting the complications it presents for genre identification, I lay a conceptual framework for looking at the specific genre of political spot ads. Analyzing a small selection of such ads used in the 2008 American presidential campaign, I show how the legitimating features they contain, although recognizable from more traditional studies, have been strikingly and successfully adapted to a new context. Furthermore, I suggest that this reworking marks a shift in the hierarchy of legitimating tools: a shift away from the unquestioned primacy of text and talk.


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