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Mask communication: the development of the face covering as a semiotic resource through government public health posters in England and Wales

Smith, Angela and Higgins, Michael (2022) Mask communication: the development of the face covering as a semiotic resource through government public health posters in England and Wales. Discourse, Context and Media, 50. pp. 1-11. ISSN 2211-6958

Item Type: Article

Abstract

This paper will explore the multi-modal semiotic properties of a selection of key public health information posters issued by the UK Westminster government on the use of masks and face coverings during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using multi-modal critical discourse analysis, we show how the posters featuring masks sustained consistent government-led branding, while drawing upon what we describe as “synthetic person
alisation” to manage the orientation of the crisis as the pandemic progressed. Through this analysis, the article will highlight the possible contribution of these posters to an environment characterised by political confusion and enabling of a relatively widespread rejection of mask-wearing as a public health responsibility. Examining this within a broader decline in trust in government, we suggest the various attempts to produce a positive message about mask-wearing contributed instead to the appropriation of masks as symbols of individual alignment within a contested political field.

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More Information

Depositing User: Angela Smith

Identifiers

Item ID: 15424
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2022.100651
ISSN: 2211-6958
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/15424
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Angela Smith: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2013-8395

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2022 15:26
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 15:26

Contributors

Author: Angela Smith ORCID iD
Author: Michael Higgins

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications

Subjects

Culture > English Language and Literature

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