University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Organization Theory Seminar Series > ‘A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words’: Visually Assigned Meaning and Meta-Narratives of the Global Financial Crisis

‘A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words’: Visually Assigned Meaning and Meta-Narratives of the Global Financial Crisis

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  • UserProfessor Markus Hoellerer, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
  • ClockFriday 30 October 2015, 12:00-13:30
  • HouseJudge Business School, W2.02.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Rene Wiedner.

Although the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has constituted a major challenge for socio-economic actors located at the interface of organizations, markets, and society, scholarly attention within the domain of organization and management studies has been surprisingly scarce. Taking the proliferation of visual material in virtually all social spheres as the point of departure, this article sets out to examine the discursive mechanisms by which a multiplicity of different but interrelated events has become encapsulated in the specific idea of the GFC with identifiable boundaries and coherent narratives. In more detail, we argue that images and other visual artifacts constitute a key resource for negotiating social reality: They communicate information, issues, accounts, legitimate cast of actors, and underlying frames of reference in an immediate, comprehensive, metaphoric, emotional, and intelligible way. Using data from global news coverage of the GFC in the Financial Times between 2008 and 2012, we analyze the various pitches and storylines employed in news articles, and find that only a limited number of meta-narratives is used to provide a comprehensible theorization of the GFC . In addition, we identify distinct multimodal techniques that are used to successfully evoke these meta-narratives. Our research contributes to the growing body of visual organization studies, employs a novel methodological design of examining multimodal discourse, and adds to existing work on economic and/or social crises.

Keywords. Visual rhetoric; images; discourse; multimodality; multimodal techniques; meaning; meta-narratives; framing; global financial crisis; media; Financial Times

This talk is part of the Organization Theory Seminar Series series.

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