FACE MASKS ON YOUTUBE : A MULTIMODAL APPROACH
Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33) › 33_Other conference paper › peer-review
Related Research Unit(s)
|Publication status||Presented - 23 Feb 2021|
|Title||Digitalizing Social Practices: Changes and Consequences|
|Period||23 - 24 February 2021|
This presentation explores how face masks have been represented on YouTube as a way to make certain cultural positioning and stereotypes visible and pronounced. Wearing a face mask or not has been interpreted by some as evidence of ‘cultural’ differences between East Asians and Europeans/Americans, and by some others as a sign of (un)preparedness, and how socially responsible one is. Eventually this is morphed into assigning people into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Whilst it is evident that the discourses around face masks have been changing throughout the duration of the pandemic, this presentation focuses on one point in time, featuring one online video uploaded by a learner of Chinese at the early stage of the pandemic, and explores how the aforementioned positioning is constructed multimodally through the creative deployment of semiotic resources. With the use of an integrated analytical framework informed by social semiotic multimodality (Kress, 2010) and translanguaging (Li Wei, 2011, 2018), this presentation unpacks how the video-creator positions himself as prepared and socially responsible by showing alignment with the face mask culture, and with cultures that embrace mask-wearing practices both linguistically and semiotically. Through conducting multimodal analysis on the video, it was found that at different points of the video, the video-creator occupies multiple positions to highlight certain aspects of his identity, and his shifts between multiple positions and stances are also made known to the audience through an orchestration of multimodal and multilingual resources that he possesses. This integrated framework offers a socio-historical and cultural dimension to our understanding of multimodal and multilingual practices. Overall, the presentation aims to contribute to a methodological understanding of how positioning is created through the orchestration of a range of resources available to the social actor in a digitally mediated context.
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