Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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The present study propounds a novel discourse-semantic approach that problematizes the social semiotic analysis of visual narrative in two respects: (i) the lack of a model that can explain the plurifunctional structure of visual acts of communication in general and (ii) the failure to provide the deep structure underlying the characters and/or objects in visual narrative in particular. Redressing these two shortcomings, the approach is methodologically geared towards analysing the visual narrative grammar that encodes the 2017 BBC image-enabled news story of Islamic State (IS). The proposed approach rests on two theoretical models: (i) Roman Jakobson’s (1960) communication model of language functions; (ii) Algirdas Julien Greimas’s (19661987) structural-semantic model of actant grammar. The study has reached two major findings. First, theoretically, the visual narrative analysis of images demands the presence of both (1) a theory that can adequately explain the plurifunctional structure associated with the semiotic complexity of visual communication and (2) a structural-semantic model that reveals the deep structure of the actants that enable the to relate to the events featuring in the mono-/multimodal discourse of narrative. Second, on a practical level of the BBC’s visual storyline, IS has been represented within three actant-based enunciation-spectacles: (a) victimhood with Subject versus Object, (b) beneficiariness with Sender versus Receiver, and (c) villainy (self-presented and other-presented) with Opponent/Victim versus Helper.


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