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Visual Communication

Visual Communication
Understanding Images in Media Culture

First Edition

May 2019 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

In today’s digital media environment we are creating and consuming more images than ever before. From the importance of image in politics, to the ubiquity of the ‘selfie’ across social media platforms, visual communication is increasingly central to our everyday mediated lives.

It is more important than ever to examine the social and cultural implications of mediated images – but how can we really interrogate the work that images do?

Visual Communication: Understanding Images in Media Culture provides a theoretical and empirical toolkit to do just that. It explores a range of approaches to visual analysis, while also providing a hands-on guide to applying a diverse range of methods to your own work. The book:

  • Illustrates multiple 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 you how to combine approaches and methods to best suit your 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

Interesting, creative and insightful

Dr Ilkay Taş Gürsoy
Reha Midilli Tourism Faculty, Dokuz Eylul Universitesi
March 2, 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
April 20, 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
January 17, 2020

Due to the workload is too high for the students, this book was in the reading list. But it does not mean the book is less important. Personally, I highly recommend this book to student in social media program.

Dr Yushan Pan
Accounting, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
January 25, 2021
Key features

Need 1: Visual culture is proliferating online. Students need teaching tools that reflect this and give them the tools to analyze these images in their own media experience.

Meeting need: Reviewers commented on the inclusion across the book of examples and case studies from digital and social media as strength that sets this book apart.


Need 2: Learning from a variety of approaches common in media studies research.

Meeting need: Built for media studies and drawing on examples resonant with media students, each case study provides a 'toolkit' approach walking students through an analytic technique or method, and how it can be applied to a particular image or visual context.

For instructors

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