Text-analytical Approaches to Humanitarian Communication

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The public circulation of images, speeches and written documents for the purpose of moral education dates as far back as these modes of communication themselves. Religious imagery and scripture are obvious cases in point. The practice of analyzing such texts as cultural traces of particular historical manifestations of morality has an equally long history, building on the legacy of theology and literary analysis in which, for centuries, scholars have sought to make sense of morality. Today, the deep analytical engagement with individual pieces of text as a method in the social sciences is both enormously popular and, at the same time, criticized with respect to the scientific status of such methods and what kinds of conclusions they can legitimately support. The overall objective of this chapter is to explicate the epistemological assumptions of text-based qualitative research, addressing some of its critics’ concerns, and to offer an overview of the uses of textual analysis in humanitarian communication by focusing on empirical work driven by visual and subsequently verbal/multimodal text analysis. I conclude by proposing directions for future textual approaches to humanitarian communication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Humanitarian Communication
EditorsLilie Chouliaraki, Anne Vestergaard
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781138230576, 9781032081212
ISBN (Electronic)9781315363493
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Published 30 September 2021.

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