For this activity I tried to create a stratified model of language that maps the dialectical relation between social structures and the instantiation of texts. The stratified model of language was borrowed from SFL textual analysis and then adapted, following the work of O’Halloran and Kress, to images. The model maps the minutest elements of language, showing how each level of language is nested within or realizes the other. So, at the minutest level we have graphology/phonology or symbols/graphics, which are then formed into sentences or visual representations, which form a text’s meaning as a whole, which is influenced by the context of the situation (register), realized through the context of a culture (genre), influenced by ideologies, which are in turn shaped by one’s social positioning, determined by the codes generated by the social structure. As you can see, social structure ultimately generates the codes that shape texts instantiated in our culture, but texts, themselves, can go on to influence ideologies and in turn transform cultural codes and ultimately social structures. The connotative levels of meaning are parasitic, meaning they must use lower-level systems to instantiate their meaning.
I paid particular attention to mapping tenor, or interpersonal meanings here, which at the level of register forms the concepts of power and solidarity, which is instantiated as appraisal and involvement at the discourse level. Little work has been done in multimodal discourse analysis on the interpersonal aspects of visual rhetoric and ideology. I plan to further analyze how power and solidarity are conveyed within social activist memes. The model makes clear that ideological and political stances we instantiate through texts are in large part determined by our positioning within the class-based social structure.