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Mitchell has famously noted that we are in the midst of a “pictorial turn,” and images are playing an increasingly important role in digital and multimodal communication.I argue that the relationship between the two media is more dynamic, and can be better understood by applying ’s concept of dissociation, which Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca developed to demonstrate how the interaction of differently valued concepts can construct new meaning.
My dissertation expands the range of dissociation by applying it specifically to visual contexts and using it to critique visual arguments in a series of historical moments when political, religious, and economic factors cause one form of media to be valued over the other: Byzantine Iconoclasm, the late medieval period, the 1950’s advertising boom, and the modern digital age.
In each of these periods, I argue that dissociation reveals how the privileged medium can shape an entire multimodal argument.
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UW-Madison dissertations and theses from 1892-1964 are located in the UW-Madison Shelving Facility.
UW-Madison master’s theses are not available for check out; they may be viewed in a library.
Visual rhetoricians have often attempted to understand text-image arguments by privileging one medium over the other, either using text-based rhetorical principles or developing new image-based theories.
My dissertation addresses the question of how meaning is made when texts and images are united in multimodal arguments.