Please send all journal submissions to the editor Simon Downs at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the moment, we are soliciting submissions for an Issue on Political Party Imagery. To find out more, please see the following link:
Aims and Scope
The Poster is a forum for the study of visual rhetoric in the public sphere; a place to discuss how and why visual messages are thrust into the world and the media forms used to do so. This peer-reviewed journal stands as a vehicle for the ideas of media theorists; scholars of Cultural Studies and Cultural Materialism; for social psychologists of visual communication, for architects and designers of wayfinding schemes; for philosophers of Aesthetics and Politics, Society and Linguistics; for social scientists, anthropologists and ethnographers; for political campaigners and artist activists; for communications researchers and visual communications practitioners.
Call for Papers
Even before the advent of the modern party, images were used to communicate to the electorate by both the ruling group and the opposition. But with the rise of the industrial society, an important condition for the forming of mass parties was
the possibility of producing vast quantities of printed matter featuring images. The era of the mass party could not have come into being without the rise of popular newspapers and their pictorial representations of politicians and events.
With the advent of film and later television, many changes took place in the role of images in politics, and even though the media landscape is shifting, most researchers agree that there is a predominance of visual communication within today’s political scene. The dominant media channels for contemporary political debate are reliant on visual presentations.
Areas of interest for studies of visual political communication include:
• Posters, both election and other. The poster remains the dominant push-me- dia in the public sphere (though this dominance is being challenged by big data feeding targeted social media) and thus keeps its role as an important means of reaching the mass of the population. Technological developments have opened the door for electronic posters and billboards, with moving im- ages, sound, and interaction.
• Logos and symbols. There are significant differences between countries when it comes to developing logos and symbols for each party. In Sweden, e.g., al- most all parties have flowers of different kinds as symbols, while Danish par- ties use the letter assigned to the party by the authorities. In other countries, everyday objects are used as party symbols in elections to avoid the problems of literacy in the electorate. But in all cases, the symbol is invested with local values and community significance.
• Portraits of representatives. The formal political portrait is used to underline and enhance the personal qualities of the politician, but it is clear that local differences as well as political differences are being eroded, with portraits gravitating towards an ‘international standard’. Which opens opportunities for smaller parties to present a more ‘daring’ style in its portraits (not to men-
tion the adventurously bare chested novelty of some of Vladimir Putin’s por- traiture).
Press photos and ‘photo opportunities’. No party can completely control the public image presented by the press, but there are many ways of directing press photographers towards producing photos which reflect the intentions of the party.
Images on websites. All party websites use a variety of pictures in order to connect with the values held dearly by their target voters. These images may be both positive or negative and present a certain interpretation of both the political context and the culture within which the party is active.
Videos on the internet. All parties use a variety of videos in their everyday communication. These range from talking heads explaining the party’s politics on a certain subject to more or less artistic renditions of the lives of people and the state of the world.
All of these areas are worth studying in their own right, with an emphasis on the semiotics of representation, the historical development, the technical limitations and possibilities, or the relation to particular groups within the society. However it is crucial to look upon the complex interplay between the imagery in each of these categories; creating a visual intertextuality, a meta political statement injected into the public sphere. With campaign planning becoming an indispensable
part of political communication, the recirculation and recognition of key visual elements has become a crucial factor. This can be discussed in terms of visual culture or identity, and with reference to the techniques used within corporate communication, or in terms of visual rhetoric with an emphasis on the persuasive intentions behind the chosen images.
Studying the role of images in party political communication, a plethora of analytic approaches present themselves, but what is important is the cross-fertilization of these approaches in order to construct a fuller understanding of the phenomenon within its societal context.
Multimodality is a key element to understanding the use of images in combination with other forms of mediated communication. We therefore encourage scholars from both social and political science, as well as cultural studies, arts, and communication studies, to submit proposals publication. The journal is looking for:
Full papers of 7000-9000 words plus illustrations on the issue’s theme (for double blind peer review). Rich illustration of the text is welcomed. Theoretical papers as well as methodological discussion are welcome, but preferably in combination with empirical analysis of imagery. Case studies, comparisons across culture, or historical studies are invited.
Artist / Designer Monographs. Extended scholarly pieces addressing the issue’s theme (for double blind peer review). 10000 – 25000 words plus extensive illustrations.
Image and Photo Essays composed of illustrations, photographs, diagrams or schematics that use visual languages to communicate their point of view on this edition’s themes. Textual support may be added, if it is felt necessary.
Reviews of relevant books, exhibitions and political gatherings (the editors would be more than happy to publish a good review of the U.S. Republican or Democratic party conferences).
Abstracts (250 words) due Thursday 1st of September 2016. Selected contributors will be informed in the following week.
Full manuscripts due Monday 5th of December 2016.
Please send abstracts and manuscripts to the following address: S.T.Downs@lboro.ac.uk
They should be addressed to Simon Downs (the journal’s editor).