The phenomenon of multimodality has, as Jewitt observes, generated interest "across many disciplines...against the backdrop of considerable social change." Contemporary societies are grappling with the social implications of the rapid increase in sophistication and range of multimodal practices, particularly within interactive digital media, so that the study of multimodality also becomes essential within an increasing range of practical domains. As a result of this increasing interest in multimodality, scholars, teachers and practitioners are on the one hand uncovering many different issues arising from its study, such as those of theory and methodology, while also exploring multimodality within an increasing range of domains.Such an increase and range of interest in multimodality heralds the emergence of a distinct multimodal studies field: as both the mapping of a domain of enquiry, and as the site of the development of theories, descriptions and methodologies specific to and adapted for the study of multimodality. The present volume presents a range of works by an impressive international roster of contributors who both explore issues arising from the study of multimodality and explore the scope of this emerging field within specific domains of multimodal phenomena. Contributors aim to show that each individual work and works in general within multimodal studies represent a dialectic or complementarity between the exploration of issues of general significance to multimodal studies and the exploration of specific domains of multimodality; while characterizing specific works as tending to some degree towards one or other of these main areas of focus. Such a characterization is seen as part of a move towards the identification and thus development of a distinct field of multimodal studies.
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