Orality, rhythmography and visual representation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the epistemological problems which occur in analysis of orality through visual images. Narrow disciplinary orientations are argued to impede understanding of what the semiotician Charles Sanders Peirce calls the final interpretant, that which would be agreed by the scholarly community to be the ultimate opinion. When filmmakers or scholars take the imaging medium for granted they fail to “see” the visual codes which structure the oral content and fail to reach the final interpretant. In the case study described below, the video camera was the provocation of the oral message in the first place. The paper provides some methods for visualizing oral information in such a way that the rhythms and balances of the original pro-filmic oral event are identified and retained when captured in print or on video. The method is developed from Peirce's categories of interpretant and methodology of phaneroscopy, manifested in three levels of making sense: a) the nature of the encounter; b) the experience of the interacting parties; and c) how each reaches intelligibility on the matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-116
Number of pages24
JournalVisual Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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