Uses of Multimodal Statements on the Playground: A Foucaultian Approach to Multimodal Discourse Analysis

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Social Semiotics

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In this study, I draw upon the concept of a statement (l’énoncé), Foucault’s fundamental discursive unit, as developed in The Archaeology of Knowledge, extending and applying the concept to a group of children’s multimodal discourse operations on the playground, and thereby developing the concept of a multimodal statement. I do this by focusing on Foucault’s semiotic grounding of the statement, which he describes as being constituted by a group of signs. My analytical approach involved developing a form of multimodal transcription that enabled the isolation of individual multimodal statements within a focal discursive event. In later stages of analysis, I identified the signifiers (from across multiple modes) that comprised the students’ multimodal statements, and found that these multimodal statements were discursive practices that created a network of nodal point signifiers drawn from multiple modes. Through these multimodal discourse processes, the students created subjective positions as part of a local discursive formation, which I refer to as a multimodal discursive microformation: a social semiotic web of subjectification that the children produced.



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