The rhetoric is on the wall: A multimodal study of the U.S. – Mexico border through image narratives
Date of Award
Bachelor of arts (BA)
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
This paper applied social semiotics and systemic functional theory to study visual narratives related to President Trump’s border wall project and U.S. immigration policy. The images were selected by new articles posted by The New York Times using search parameters “border wall” and “undocumented immigration” between the dates of March 13 – April 13, 2018. Images were selected and categorized based on visual themes related to the border wall and policy enforcement. Of these categories, two images were selected for vertical perspective, vector patterns, and gestures to discover the narratives. Analysis of the images showed that social power and hierarchical clashes based on authoritative positions which were realized through vertical perspective. Upon examination of images depicting people for vector patterns and vertical perspective revealed correlations to authority. Additionally, vector shapes formed by social actors displayed patterns of visual collectivization based on clothing, race, and gender. This study concluded with the idea of adding intertextual analysis to further understand how images and text work together more closely.
Mason, Kristoffer, "The rhetoric is on the wall: A multimodal study of the U.S. – Mexico border through image narratives" (2018). Global Honors Theses. 49.
American Politics Commons, Critical and Cultural Studies Commons, Immigration Law Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, International and Intercultural Communication Commons, International Relations Commons, Latin American Studies Commons, Law and Politics Commons, Other Linguistics Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons, Rhetoric Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons, Speech and Rhetorical Studies Commons