Barack Obama, being sharp: Indexical order in the pragmatics of precision-grip gesture

$38.18 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:

Abstract:

Gesture in political oratory and debate is renowned for its nonreferential indexical functions, for the way it purportedly can indicate qualities of speaker and materialize acts of persuasion — functions famously addressed in Quintilian’s classic writings but understudied today. I revisit this problematic through a case study of precision-grip (especially thumb to tip of forefinger) in Barack Obama’s debate performances (2004–2008). Cospeech gesture can index valorized attributes of speaker — not directly but through orders of semiotic motivation. In terms of first-order indexicality, precision-grip highlights discourse in respect of information structure, indicating focus. In debate, precision grip has undergone a degree of conventionalization and has reemerged as a second-order pragmatic resource for performatively “making a ‘sharp’, effective point.” Repetitions and parallelisms of precision grip in debate can, in turn, exhibit speaker-attributes, such as being argumentatively ‘sharp’, and from there may even partake in candidate branding.

Keywords: focus; gesture; indexicality; politics; pragmatics; precision-grip

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/gest.11.3.01lem

Publication date: January 1, 2011

Related content

Tools

Favourites

Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more