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Visual Communication
Understanding Images in Media Culture



November 2019 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Visual Communication: Understanding Images in Media and Culture provides a theoretical and empirical toolkit to examine implications of mediated images. It explores a range of approaches to visual analysis, while also providing a hands-on guide to applying methods to students' own work. The book:

  • Illustrates a range of perspectives, from content analysis and semiotics, to multimodal and critical discourse analysis
  • Explores the centrality of images to issues of identity and representation, politics and activism, and commodities and consumption
  • Brings theory to life with a host of original case studies, from celebrity videos on Youtube and civil unrest on Twitter, to the lifestyle branding of Vice Media and Getty Images
  • Shows students how to combine approaches and methods to best suit their own research questions and projects 

An invaluable guide to analysing contemporary media images, this is essential reading for students and researchers of visual communication and visual culture. 

 
Chapter 1: Introduction
 
Chapter 2: Understanding images in media culture: methodological considerations
 
Chapter 3: Envisioning the self in digital media
 
Chapter 4: Communicating visions of collective identity
 
Chapter 5: Ways of seeing difference beyond stereotypes
 
Chapter 6: Images of politicians in the public sphere
 
Chapter 7: The visual spectacles of protest and activism
 
Chapter 8: Picturing international conflict and war
 
Chapter 9: The visual attractions of advertising and promotional culture
 
Chapter 10: Visualizing lifestyles as commodities
 
Chapter 11: Brands as visual experiences
 
Chapter 12: Conclusion

This smart and engaging book introduces readers to some of the most pressing debates in visual communications studies. Effective in making often-opaque theories accessible, Aiello and Parry situate these debates in relation to a diverse toolkit of current research methods. Eighteen thickly-contextualized case studies skillfully illustrate the various steps students need to design their own projects. 

Wendy Kozol
Oberlin College and Conservatory

How can we understand images in media culture? Writing with clarity, insight and flair, Aiello and Parry show us that while there is no simple answer, there are many good analytical paths to pursue, demonstrating their value across no less than eighteen case studies – from political memes to photojournalism to Hollywood movie trailers and commercial imagery. Focusing on how visual communication is entangled with identities, politics and commodities, this book is not only an exemplary introduction to visual communication research: it is a significant and timely guide to the powers and properties of contemporary images.

Paul Frosh
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Organised around the themes of identities, politics and commodification, this book offers multiple conceptual insights into how images are created, circulated, seen, sold, modified and destroyed. Its themes and arguments are grounded in a series of detailed and clearly written examples, which also explore the methodological implications of approaching images as forms of visual communication. All this adds up to a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary visual culture.

Gillian Rose
University of Oxford

Interesting, creative and insightful

Dr Ilkay Taş Gürsoy
Reha Midilli Tourism Faculty, Dokuz Eylul Universitesi
February 3, 2020

It is a valuable book to help me understand different options in doing research with children & youth. It may influence my teaching in a more indirect way. My courses are not specific enough for the book to be a main literature resource.

Dr Barbara Johanna Lill-Rastern
Social Work, Management Center Innsbruck
January 17, 2020

Broadens student appreciation of the range and impact of multiple media platforms in relation to communication in a changing H&SC landscape of provision

Ms Clair Rees
Health, Social and Childcare, Neath Port Talbot College
December 13, 2019

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Giorgia Aiello

Giorgia Aiello is an Associate Professor in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on the politics and potentials of visual, multimodal, and material communication. Giorgia is interested in how aesthetics shape and are shaped by political, economic, and cultural agendas. Her work aims to uncover how identities are formed, how both difference and diversity are negotiated, and how inequalities are maintained or overcome through media and communication. She is a co-editor of Communicating the City: Meanings, Practices and Interactions (Peter Lang, 2017) and the author of many journal articles, book chapters,... More About Author

Katy Parry

Katy Parry is an Associate Professor in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. Her work focuses on visual politics and activism, images of war and representations of contemporary soldiering. She is a co-author of Political Culture and Media Genre: Beyond the News (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) with Kay Richardson and John Corner, and a co-editor of Can the Media Serve Democracy? Essays in Honour of Jay G. Blumler (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), with Stephen Coleman and Giles Moss. Her current research interests include the visual expressions of political solidarity shared in response to the murder of Jo Cox MP during the Brexit... More About Author

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