The semiotic construction of values in the videogame Watch Dogs

Article


Lowien, Nathan. 2016. "The semiotic construction of values in the videogame Watch Dogs." English in Australia. 51 (2), pp. 41-51.
Article Title

The semiotic construction of values in the videogame Watch Dogs

ERA Journal ID20439
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorLowien, Nathan
Journal TitleEnglish in Australia
Journal Citation51 (2), pp. 41-51
Number of Pages11
Year2016
PublisherAustralian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0046-208X
0155-2147
Web Address (URL)https://www.aate.org.au/journals/english-in-australia
Abstract

The past decade has seen videogames become an important facet in the economic and cultural tapestry of the 21st century. However, while the Australian Curriculum: English (ACE) advocates the teaching of multimodal texts (ACARA, 2016), videogames have been neglected within the curriculum. Nevertheless, such a significant aspect of popular 21st century entertainment culture warrants attention by educationalists and consideration as a highly motivating curriculum resource. This paper aims to explore the linguistic and visual semiotic depictions of value positions in the videogame Watch Dogs (Ubisoft, 2014). Despite the ubiquity and popularity of videogames, and the growing use of Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) and related broader semiotic theory in educational research, limited research has been conducted on games from an SFL perspective. This paper will identify content descriptions from the ACE and how suitable videogames similar to Watch Dogs could be used for the teaching of these descriptions. Semiotic systems such as the appraisal system (Martin & White, 2005) and various approaches to image analyses (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006; Painter, Martin, & Unsworth, 2013) will be utilised in the identification and explication of game characters’ value positions. The logogenetic synergy between the meaning making systems of language and image will then be canvassed in relation to their implications for Systemic Functional Semiotic accounts of inter-modal meaning-making, as well as implications for curriculum and pedagogy in the 21st century.

Keywordsappraisal, attitude, engagement, evaluative Stance, image-language relations, visual grammar, pedagogy, curriculum
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390104. English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
390102. Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
390101. Creative arts, media and communication curriculum and pedagogy
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Byline AffiliationsAustralian Catholic University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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