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Multimodal discourse analysis of social media influencers as ‘new generation’ copy-writers.

Director of thesis Prof. Dr. Crispin Thurlow Professor of Language and Communication, Director, Department of English
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

Habermas (1982) argues that contemporary society has seen a displacement of communicative and relational practices by strategic and therefore instrumental practices. Furthermore, what he calls the ‘lifeworld’ has been colonised by the economy. Fairclough (1993) explains that one good example of this is how advertising and promotional discourse have invaded many new domains of life. I propose to look closely at one context in which the corporate and the social are indeed very interwoven: Social media and their influencers. Social media influencers (SMIs) are a third party endorsers or micro-celebrities, who shape audience’s attitudes through various social media (Freberg et al. 2011). I argue that social media influencers have found a way to combine the relational and communicative with the strategic and instrumental. They have become skilled language workers (Thurlow 2007) that mediate between the social and the corporate in order to make a living, but concurrently build and nurture online communities of practice (Angouri 2016). The aim of this research is to find out how this mediation is done with different semiotic resources and through different modes on different social media which each fulfil different kinds of communicative work while also working together towards projecting a certain identity.

Status beginning
Administrative delay for the defence 2021