When context changes

The need for a dynamic notion of context in multimodal argumentation

In: International Review of Pragmatics
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  • 1 University of Bremen
  • 2 Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Italy

Abstract

This paper highlights the notion of dynamic context as an indispensable pragmatic aspect of multimodal argumentation and exemplifies a context-based approach to multimodal arguments with an analysis of the Mophie 2015 Super Bowl commercial. Whereas in dynamic semantics and verbal discourse analysis the notion of dynamic context and its context change potential are significant patterns for the analysis, argumentation theorists have not yet fully included these patterns in their discussions. The paper argues that multimodal argumentative genres such as commercials and movie trailers often work with a dynamically changing interpretation, which, at the end, reveals their persuasive patterns and final claims. It demonstrates that it is absolutely necessary for a detailed analysis of the argumentation in these multimodal genres to include the contextual influence and dynamic change potential. The paper thus emphasizes the need for an inclusion of the notion of dynamic context in methods and frameworks dealing with the complexity of multimodal argumentation.

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