Citizenship and Semiotics: Towards a Multimodal Analysis of Representations of the Relationship between the State and the Citizen

  • Giulio Pagani


What is the nature of the relationship between the state and the citizen? How does the state shape the expectations of its citizens? Representation of the state would seem to be implicated in the latter, playing its part in how the state shows its presence and tells of its achievements in the world that its citizens inhabit. Studies of discourse created and disseminated by state institutions in the United Kingdom (Fairclough, 1993; Pagani, 2007) suggest that a marketized rebalancing of the relations between those institutions and the citizens of their jurisdiction has occurred since the early 1990s, and that detectable changes in the mode of discourse were implicated in this. Keeping this in mind, this chapter examines the discursive construction of states and citizens by considering how the meanings of multimodal texts are made available publicly. The goal is to demonstrate the ways in which the state shows as well as tells citizens of its presence and activities and, further, to establish the significance of this process and then propose a means of analysing the discourse it produces.


Material Object John Benjamin Critical Discourse Analysis Semiotic System Semiotic Resource 
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© Giulio Pagani 2009

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  • Giulio Pagani

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