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Retooling methods for approaching discourse–materiality relations: a new materialist framework of multimodal sensitivity

Maria Hvid Dille (Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark and Department of Research and Development, University College Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Mie Plotnikof (Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 26 June 2020

Issue publication date: 15 October 2020




While recent theoretical discussions around discourse–material relationality have facilitated important conceptual and analytical advancements within the broader field of CMS, less progress has been made methodologically with regard to innovating empirical methods and data modes. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to contribute to strengthening the methodological focus in the literature when grappling with the relationality of discourse–materiality and co-constitution. This includes a method-retooling framework inspired by new materialism.


In this article, the authors engage at the methodological level by developing a method-retooling framework that combines insights from organizational discourse studies and new materialist thinking. This framework enables a retooling of existing methods to become sensitive to multimodality and offers two concrete examples that were developed during fieldwork for a multi-sited and multi-method case study in 2018.


Based on the framework for retooling methods for multimodality, two illustrations are offered. These include retooling interviews by employing multimodal vignettes and retooling observations by using multimodal mappings. They are unfolded and discussed regarding their appropriation of discourse–material relationality.


This paper includes original research and method developments – adding a critical focus on the methodological aspects and potential advancements that are necessary in the wake of the ongoing debates around discourse–materiality across CMS and specifically within studies of organizational discourse and CCO. By suggesting a framework, the authors stimulate methodological explorations and contribute to furthering method developments that are equal to the rich conceptual progress made within the field.



Funding: This research is partly funded by a research grant from the Danish Ministry of Education, and partly by a VELUX FONDEN grant.


Dille, M.H. and Plotnikof, M. (2020), "Retooling methods for approaching discourse–materiality relations: a new materialist framework of multimodal sensitivity", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 485-501.



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