Navigating the scattered and fragmented

Visual rhetoric, visual studies, and visual communication

Authored by: Kelly Norris Martin

The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415783675
eBook ISBN: 9780203725610
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005474


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Because of the attention devoted to the visual from a wide variety of disciplines, many of which use different approaches and techniques, visual research is often considered a place of turbulence and incoherence. As Smith et al. write, the field of visual communication ‘is scattered and fragmented’ (2005: xi). The term ‘indiscipline,’ proposed by Mitchell (1995) to describe inter-, cross-, and transdisciplinary work that is at the ‘inner and outer boundaries of disciplines,’ is therefore an accurate description of the visual research field. Although well-established disciplines such as art history, design history, and visual anthropology have established theoretical canons and methods, they too have entered conversations about the growth of visual research.

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