A Call For “Strong” Multimodal Research in Institutional Theory

Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions

ISBN: 978-1-78743-330-4, eISBN: 978-1-78743-329-8

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 30 November 2017


How can we take multimodalities (the discursive, material, spatial, visual, emotional, embodied, etc.) of institutions seriously? In contemplating the implications of the “multimodal turn” (broadly defined) for institutional inquiry and theory, I first situate it within its intellectual current in the social sciences more broadly. I then use three ethnographic vignettes from Israeli high-tech conferences, all centering on “place” (as a – presumably first and foremost – geographical and material reality) to highlight the shortcomings of a “weak” multimodal approach and the promise of a “strong” one. Finally, I suggest ways to capture multiple modalities within an integrated account and discuss the challenges entailed in an institutional inquiry undertaken to acknowledge, and conceptualize, non-linguistic realities.



Zilber, T. (2017), "A Call For “Strong” Multimodal Research in Institutional Theory", Höllerer, M., Daudigeos, T. and Jancsary, D. (Ed.) Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 54A), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 63-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X2017000054A003

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