Edited by Simon Harrison, Silva H. Ladewig and Jana Bressem
[Gesture 20:2] 2021
► pp. 153–179
In gesture studies, the adjective ‘recurrent’ has developed to distinguish a range of semiotic and conceptual phenomena concerning the nature of meaningful bodily movements. This article begins with a brief and recent history of recurrent gesture studies. We raise ongoing debates concerning the position of recurrent gestures on the so-called Kendon’s continuum, the relation between gestures and practical actions, and the interplay between gesture’s cultural specificity and universality. A selection of findings from previous research on recurrent gestures then acquaints readers with characteristics of these gestures: their form-function pairings and context-variation, linguistic organization and multimodal constructions, and community-specific typologies (from cultural, situational, as well as individual perspectives). Proposing to help build recurrent gesture theory, the paper then recognizes that recurrency goes hand-in-hand with diversity – both in the ways these gestures exist for members of a community and their role in the styles, habits, and creations of individuals.