Participant abstracts

DeCoursey, C. A.: (Re)placing Santa: Caring enough and sending the very best in contemporary China.

Currently, global economic and political powers are moving away from the established western players towards Asian societies, China in particular. Western cultures and media show increased interest in Asian cultures and issues. Still, there is little appreciation among western audiences of specific qualities of Confucian culture, or contemporary Asian popular culture. This paper presents the results of a survey of Taiwanese greeting cards, which present birthday, friendship and Christmas messages and images. Both pictorial and verbal components are startling. When reading according to western values and protocols, the visual and verbal content of these cards can be called pejorative, discriminatory, or bigoted (see below). However, the Asian interest in qualities and characteristics known as “cute culture” produces different readings, indicating difficulties for our emerging global culture in theorising a transcultural habitus. In all, 65 Hong Kong students were asked to respond on a Likert scale survey to six images, all of which contained cultural stereotypes. In all, 25 students were interviewed in greater detail about their responses to these greeting cards. Appraisal analysis was used to evaluate lexicogrammar expressed in student comments, via CorpusTool tagging. Research on Confucian cultural values is used to interpret specific elements, including social harmony. Research of the social functions of cute culture in Asia is used to consider issues of presence and domestication.

Annamari Rytkönen: Essence and Existing – The Image of Santa Claus Clothing

There exists one Santa and many Santas simultaneously. That is what the material collected for a master’s thesis (Rytkönen, 2008, 2009) showed when analysed by using a triangulation of data and several methods, including the methods of clothing image theory (Uotila, 1994,1995) and the theory of phenomenological categories (Luutonen, 1997), which is mainly based on C.S. Peirce’s semiotic theory of signs and being (Peirce, 1998).

The study first collected the images of Santa’s clothing in a non-analytical way. Then the essential clothing features of Santa and Santa’s existential features were analysed with the help of Peirce’s typology of signs: icons, indices, and symbols. The study further relied on the theory of values suggested in the work of Kaisu Jaakkola (Jaakkola, 1977) for the purpose of identifying ten distinctive identities for Santa.

As far as the nature of Santa’s existence and looks are concerned, a number of intercultural conventions seem to operate. Thus for instance the US Santa Claus emerged as a character with particular clothing, white beard and with a set of artefacts. Yet, as the study showed, the red and white colour palette had not been the only choice for depicting Santa. In pagan traditions, for example, Santa was a part of Saturnalia with different masks. Santa Clauses dressed in red were already marketing products even before the Coca Cola style Santa Claus took over.

The study showed that the character of Santa has a long and eventful story that combines contributions of texts by W. Irving (Irving, 1809) and C.C. Moore (Moore, 1823) as well as the caricature images of T. Nast (Nast, 1863). Today, tourism businesses are keen to employ the character of Santa and his clothing in a theatrical way to spread the Christmas fable all year round and make use of Santa’s symbolic representation of love and charity.

Irving, Washington, 2004. Knickerbocker’s History of New York. First published 1809. Released July 29, 2004. The Project Gutenberg eBook. Produced by Charles Franks and PG Distributed Proofreaders. 4.11.2011
Jaakkola, Kaisu, 1977. Muuttuva joulu. Kansatieteellinen tutkimus. [The Changing Christmas. An Ethnological Study.] Ed. Valonen, Niilo & Lehtonen, Juhani, U.E. English Summary translated by Dr. Leena Lehto. Kansatieteellinen arkisto 28. Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistys, Helsinki.
Luutonen, Marketta, 1997. Kansanomainen tuote merkityksenkantajana. Tutkimus suomalaisesta
villapaidasta. [Rustic product as conveyor of meaning. A study of Finnish pullovers.] Academic Dissertation. University of Helsinki. Faculty of Education. Department of Teacher Education, Textile, Design and Craft Studies. Artefakta 3. Akatiimi Oy, Helsinki.
Moore, Clement Clarke, 1823. A Visit from St. Nicholas. Also known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. First published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel, Dec. 23, 1823, pl. 2, col. 5., widely copied, and reprinted in the author’s Poems (1844). “Clement Clarke Moore.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. 4 Nov. 2011 .
Nast, Thomas, 1863. Santa Claus in Camp. Illus. in: Harper’s weekly, v. 7, (1863 Jan. 3), p. 1. Wood engravig. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Digital ID cph 3c22770,
Peirce, Charles Sanders, 1998. The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, 1893 –1913. Edited by Peirce Edition Project. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, USA.
Rytkönen, Annamari, 2008. Olemus ja oleminen – Joulupukin pukeutumiskuva. [Essence and Existing – The Image of Santa Claus Clothing.] Master’s Thesis. University of Lapland, the Faculty of Art and Design, Textile and Clothing Design, Clothing, Rovaniemi.
Rytkönen, Annamari, 2009. Olemus ja oleminen – Joulupukin pukeutumiskuva. [Essence and Existing – The Image of Santa Claus Clothing. ] – In Marjatta Heikkilä-Rastas (ed.) Pukutaikaa. Pohjoisia puheenvuoroja ja pukeutumiskuvia elämys-, tanssi-, elokuva- ja teatteripuvuista. Lapland University Press, Rovaniemi, 48–67.
Uotila, Minna, 1994. Pukeutumisen kuva. Fenomenologis-eksistentiaalinen lähestyminen pukeutumiskuvien tekemiseen ja tulkintaan. [Image of clothing: phenomenological-existential approach to the art and craft of clothing.] Academic Dissertation. Department of Teacher Education, Textile, Design and Craft Studies. University of Helsinki. University Press, Helsinki.
Uotila, Minna, 1995. Pukeutumisen kuvaus. Kuvia kulttuurin merkeistä. University of Helsinki. University Press, Helsinki.

Nadia Sorokina, David Bowie, Dr Rebecca Hawkins and Dr David Bowen: A semiotic research tool for the analysis of webpages in sustainable tourism research

The aim of this research is to explore the values that stakeholders attribute to “sustainable tourism” and to create meanings that might be shared between the stakeholder groups by adopting a semiotic approach. The concept of “sustainable tourism” has been criticised as vague, open to contradictory interpretations and overly theoretical (Aronsson, 1994, Bramwell, 2007, Hardy and Beeton, 2001, Pforr, 2001, University of Surrey, 2007). Consequently, adapting research methods from other social sciences has been proposed to explore the meanings of sustainable tourism within a broader social context (Bramwell and Lane, 2007).

The research instrument developed for this project is based on the principles of multimodality, since a combination of textual and visual modes can be used to create meaning. The raw data for the research are stakeholders’ webpages. The research instrument includes two components, which analyse the stakeholder webpages using the adapted Grammar of Visual Design (GVD) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) (Jewitt, 2009, Jewitt and Kress, 2008, Kress and van Leeuwen, 2001, Kress and van Leeuwen, 2006, van Leeuwen, 2008). From the GVD perspective the parameters of analysis were: the meaning of composition, narrative representation, conceptual representation, representation and interaction, and modality (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2006). From the CDA perspective the parameters of analysis were: actor, circumstantial selection, parameters of the field, tenor, mode and intertextuality (van Leeuwen, 2008). The discursive analysis of both modes, and most significantly, their interaction through organizational structure, reveal the values that stakeholders attribute to the “sustainable tourism” concept.

The development of this research instrument has extended the use of semiotic analysis to webpages and enabled the exposition of stakeholders’ understanding of the meaning of sustainable tourism.

Aronsson, L. (1994) ‘Sustainable Tourism Systems: The Example of Sustainable Rural Tourism in Sweden’, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 2, No. 1 & 2, pp. 77-95.
Bramwell, B. (2007). ‘Critical and Normative Responses to Sustainable Tourism’, Tourism Recreation Research, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 76-68.
Bramwell, B. and Lane, B (2007) ‘Audiences and Languages for Sustainable Tourism Research’, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 1-4.
Hardy, A. L. and Beeton, R. J. S. (2001) ‘Sustainable Tourism or Maintainable Tourism: Managing Resources for More Than Average Outcomes’, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 168-192.
Jewitt, C. (2009). Technology, Literacy and Learning: A Multimodal Approach. London: Routledge.
Jewitt, C. and Kress, G. (2008). Introduction. In: Jewitt, C. and Kress, G. (eds.) Multimodal Literacy. New York: Peter Lang.
Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. London: Arnold.
Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge.
Pforr, C. (2001) ‘Concepts of Sustainable Development, Sustainable Tourism, and Ecotourism: Definitions, Principles, and Linkages’, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 68-71.
University of Surrey (2007). Public Understanding of Sustainable Leisure and Tourism. Available from: [8th September 2011].
van Leeuwen, T. (2008). Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Claudia Elena Stoian: The Promotion of National Tourism on the Web: A Multimodal Analysis from a Cultural Perspective

The brand of a country and its representation play an important role in the commercialization of national tourism, since the contemporary globalised market is very competitive. This study analyses the way countries promote themselves officially world wide by using the internet. The paper presents a comparison of three official tourist websites, each from a different country, United Kingdom, Spain and Romania, from a multimodal perspective. The English version has been used, as the study focuses on international promotion. The frameworks for analysis are Halliday’s metafunctions (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004) and their adaptation for the analysis of images by Kress and van Leeuween (2006). The aim of the study is to analyze and compare the way official websites construct and organize their pages, i.e. the way images and clauses are employed to compose virtual brochures in order to promote a country across the world and create a national brand. The results are discussed from a cultural perspective considering the dimension of context dependency (Hall 2000), which classifies cultures in high-context and low-context. The findings are not totally consistent with the current theory on intercultural communication (Neuliep 2006; Şerbănescu 2007). This could be interpreted as indicating the influence of socio-political changes and globalisation on language, culture and tourism.

Hall, E. T. (2000): Context and meaning. In L. A. Samovar & R. E. Porter (Eds.): Intercultural Communication: A Reader (9th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 34-43.
Halliday, M.A.K., Matthiessen, C. (2004): An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd ed.). London: Hodder Arnold.
Kress, G., van Leeuwen T. (2006): Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Neuliep, J. W. (2006): Intercultural Communication (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications.
Şerbănescu, A. (2007) Cum gândesc şi cum vorbesc ceilalţi: prin labirintul culturilor. Iaşi: Polirom.

Francis Robert Low: Image Representations of Santa Claus in Christmas Commercials

This paper looks into the history of representations of Santa Claus in commercial world and the roles and functions of Santa Claus in today’s advertisements. The paper suggests that the image representations of Santa Claus change as technologies and the world of consumerism change.

The paper discusses an approach that measures the viewer’s perspectives and compositional tensions that may emerge when the designers of the advertisements of Santa Claus decide to confer importance to certain selected parts while downplaying others. The paper suggests that a combination of visual elements as a choice construct the image of Santa Claus which relates to the viewers and aims to control perspective.

The paper will use Santa Claus and other Christmas decorations as illustrations and will show that the right perspective is the perspective that is able to turn a composition into considerably more than the mere sum of the advertisement’s parts. By doing this, the paper goes beyond the framework established by Kress & van Leeuwen’s (2006: 177) principles of composition.

The paper will also investigate advertising strategies realised through the image representation of Santa Claus and/or other Christmas elements in Christmas advertisements.

Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T. (2006, 1996) Reading Images, Melbourne, Deakin University Press.

Tuomo Hiippala: Applications of multimodal corpora in tourism studies

The focus of my presentation is on the experiences acquired during the collection, compilation and annotation of a multimodal corpus, which consists of approximately 80 tourist brochures produced by the city of Helsinki between 1967 and 2008. Despite the current trend of analysing tourism discourse in digital media (see e.g. Hallett & Kaplan-Weinger 2010), printed tourist brochures remain a significant and important way of communicating a destination’s image to the tourists (Molina & Esteban 2006).

The multimodal corpus, annotated using the open-architecture schema provided by the Genre and Multimodality (GeM) (Bateman 2008) model provides an opportunity to learn how exactly tourism discourse is structured in this particular printed artefact type. In order to illustrate the issue, I will discuss multimodal phenomena at both detailed and abstract levels, ranging from cohesive ties between language and image to the processes of recognition that allow the reader to identify the artefact in question as belonging to the particular artefact type.

I argue that tourism studies and marketing may also benefit from multimodal research, as multimodal theories and methods can provide new insights into how tourism-related texts are construed using multiple semiotic resources (see e.g. Hiippala 2007, 2009, in press). I also attempt to show how our increasing knowledge of multimodality may be put into practice in designing increasingly appealing and user-friendly tourist brochures.

Bateman, J. A. (2008) Multimodality and Genre: A Foundation for the Systematic Analysis of Multimodal Documents, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Hallett, R. W. and Kaplan-Weinger, J. (2010) Official Tourism Websites: A Discourse Analytical Perspective, Channel View Publications, Bristol.
Hiippala, T. (2007) Helsinki: A multisemiotic analysis of tourist brochures, Master’s thesis, University of Helsinki.
Hiippala, T. (2009) Modelling multimodal genre in print media: A case study of tourist brochures, in `Proceedings of the 10th World Congress of Semiotics’, A Coruna, Spain.
Hiippala, T. (forthcoming) The localisation of advertising print media as a multimodal process, in W. L. Bowcher, ed., `Multimodal Texts from Around the World: Linguistic and Cultural Insights’, Palgrave, London.
Molina, A. and Esteban, A. (2006) `Tourism brochures: Usefulness and image’, Annals of Tourism Research 33(4), 1036-1056.

Makoto Sasaki, Mitsuo Kinoshita, Muneyoshi Yamaguchi, Katsumasa Shimizu: SFL on Mobile Gadgets: On Development of Composition Program in the Framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics

This presentation is an interim report of a co-founded project between Aichi Gakuin University and Nagoya Educational Solutions to produce an EFL program running on mobile IT devices such as iPads or Android tablets. It is designed to guide EFL students in composing email messages for social use. The alpha version of the program, temporally constructed on Web-base technology, aims to encourage the students to organize the Internet shopping inquiries, i.e., possibility to deliver items overseas. The messages seem to be frequently exchanged in the merchandise activities, especially in Christmas season, and many Santa Clauses in the world might be involved to exchange in order to seek presents.

Our project is based on preceding contributions of SFL theories and applications, e.g., the genre-register theory, educational applications, and text processing on computers. EFL students whom the program targets for are firstly guided to read an instruction regarding organization of email messages in English, which are presented as iBook data with multimedia modules. The ePub-formatted instruction navigates students to recognize a mutual relationship between social functions and linguistic configurations in terms of genre, field, tenor, and mode. After the prelude of contextual information input, the students requested to lexicogrammatical stage where they are requested to type appropriate words or expressions in blanks to accomplish model messages offered as exercises. Validity of their answers is immediately judged after inputting texts in the target blanks from viewpoints of an appropriate syntactic configuration as well as contextual relevance.

The program is demonstrated at the presentation, then the future prospects of the project will be discussed.

Christie, F. 1989. Language Education 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Derewianka, B. 1990. Exploring How Texts Work. Sydney: PETA.
Foley, Joseph A (ed.). 2004. Language, Education and Discourse: Functional Approaches. London: Continuum.
Patten, T. 1988. Systemic Text Generation as Problem Solving. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Riley. P. 1996. ‘’Look in Thy heart and Write’” Students’ Representations of Writing and Learning Write in a Foreign Language’ in Ventola and Mauranen (1996)
Ventola, E. and Mauranen, A. (eds) Academic Writing. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Francisco O. Dourado Veloso: Touristic advertisement as political asset: A comparative study between Brazil and Finland

In the tourism industry, advertisements of places do not seem to be used only to raise desires and increase volatility (Harvey, 1989), but they also hold an important place in the area of political propaganda, and thus increase the process of mediatization of politics at different levels. In this context, this paper analyzes tourism material produced in the State of Acre, in Brazil and in Rovaniemi Finland, in order to examine the local features which are appropriated by the official tourism agents and are (re)signified as a product that aims at the global market. It explores semiotic resources applied in the creation of meanings which not only advertise potential touristic sights but transform them into communicative events, thus creating and/or erasing historical aspects, transforming the landscape and producing new significations. Preliminary results indicate that natural resources, Indigenous and Sami culture and aspects of history build the bases for the re-construction of identity, employing different modes and media. My contention is that the tourism industry, through different media, not only advertise places and local culture elsewhere, but has an impact on the local identity and becomes an important political asset.

Harvey, David (1989). The condition of postmodernity. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.