Cognition and ideological effects in the interaction between viewers and BBC travel and cultural documentaries: combining multimodal critical discourse analysis and audience research
Castaldi, J. 2021. Cognition and ideological effects in the interaction between viewers and BBC travel and cultural documentaries: combining multimodal critical discourse analysis and audience research . PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Centre for Language and Linguistics
|Qualification name||Doctor of Philosophy|
My research integrates Audience Research (e.g. Schrøder et al., 2003) in Multimodal Critical Discourse Studies (Machin and Mayr, 2012; Machin, 2013, 2016; Ledin and Machin, 2018) to investigate “how individuals discursively constitute themselves” (Castaldi, 2021, p. 56). My approach takes a narrow reading of Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, where ideological dissemination is seen as the work of civil society, rather than political society, and therefore focuses on the mass-mediated genre of travel and cultural documentaries. The research assumes that multimodal semiosis is infused with ideologies, as the choice of signs is always motivated (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2006). The approach, however, acknowledges the agentive position of the individual in ideology formation and, through the analysis of three case studies, aims to shed some light on the whole process of mass-mediated communication, from reception to production.
This is attempted through a qualitative analysis of the unique interaction of the viewers with the programmes of their choice, explored by means of pre- and after-viewing questionnaires and follow-up interviews, as well as critical multimodal analyses of the programmes. Through the investigation of how social actors and events are represented during the interactive experience and drawing on theoretical and analytical concepts from social semiotics (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2001, 2006; van Leeuwen 2005; Kress, 2010) and the cognitive-pragmatic model of Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1995), the research explores how individuals use media discourses to build their ideological positions. Furthermore, the societal struggles associated with those discourses are also investigated.
Findings suggest not only that the BBC documentaries analysed reinforce neoliberal and neo-imperialistic ideologies, but also that the documentaries had ideological effects on the viewers. The research analyses the conditions under which this phenomenon occurs by focusing on the multimodal manipulation of the viewers’ epistemic vigilance (Sperber et al., 2010).
|Keywords||BBC travel documentaries; BBC cultural documentaries; Cognition; Ideological effects; Viewer interaction|
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|Deposited||16 May 2022|
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