Persuading through narratives
A multimodal analysis of the Council of Europe photo exhibition “Break the silence on domestic violence”
Following the tradition of Critical Discourse Analysis and Social Semiotics, this paper seeks to identify the linguistic and visual tools of persuasion in the Council of Europe photo exhibition “Break the silence on domestic violence” by looking at the way in which they interact to produce a persuasive message. In particular, the investigation focuses on narratives, which are one of the most powerful persuasive strategies available. They can combine different modalities and many voices in a single event and can have different functions: informative, self-presentational, entertaining, or, as in this case, persuasive. In this campaign material narratives evoke images and help European citizens to feel strong emotions associated with the stories represented. The text analysis helps to reveal that verbal and pictorial narratives are employed as a persuasive instrument to raise awareness on human rights by facilitating identification with the victims of abuses.