The Operation of Differance in a Student-Produced Digital Video: Insights into Differing and Deferring Signifier Operations and Relations in Multimodal Discourse

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Visual Communication

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In this article, the author presents a multimodal discourse analysis of a student-produced video, drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s theorization of différance. He analyzes the film as a signifying chain, drawing specifically upon the differing and deferring aspects of différance in order to conceptualize the movement of signification in the video. The focus of his analysis is on how différance, as a constitutive force, splits and divides attempts to discursively construct a present through coordination of signifiers from across multiple modes. His application of différance illustrates how the present, as constructed in the focal video, is ill-defined and always blurred since presently occurring, visible, and audible signifiers in the video do not signify in and of themselves, but rather refer to past signifiers and anticipate future signifiers for their constitution as they engage the dynamic and complex operations of différance. This analysis adds to approaches to multimodal discourse analysis of student-produced videos by accounting for the interaction of visual, actional, bodily, and spoken signifiers, as well as the pedagogical implications for understanding how discursive agencies act upon student video-composers.


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