University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)175-196
JournalSocial Semiotics
Journal publication date1 Apr 2011
Volume21
Issue2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the way that war monuments infuse our public physical spaces, and therefore our internal mental spaces, with discourses that legitimize war, soldiery and militarism in different ways at different times creating different kinds of physical environments. In critical theory and cultural studies there has been a growing interest in the way that physical spaces have psychological roles and house human thoughts and feelings - that our social and cultural memories exist in a way that intertwined with our natural and constructed environments. Commentators have noted, however, that there is still need for more systematic methods to be developed for analysing the materiality of objects such as monuments and other buildings to show precisely how they communicate as physical entities that constitute spaces. Using multimodal discourse analysis this paper carries out such an analysis looking at case studies of British war monuments, from early in the twentieth century and later in the twenty-first century. In the tradition of social semiotics, the paper seeks to describe the available semiotic resources that allow us to communicate through objects in space.

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