Publication details [#13159]

McKerrell, Simon. 2015. "Social distance and the multimodal construction of the Other in sectarian song". Social Semiotics 25 (5) : 614–632. 19 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Taylor & Francis


This paper focuses on the multimodal semiotics of social distance, a key concept in sociological and anthropological traditions in recent times which helps to delve into the social semiotic relationship between Self and Other in multimodal discourse. In particular, introducing the concept of “tonal gravity”, which extends the metaphors of semiotic space to the musical mode, to account for a fuller understanding of how music helps narrate the multimodal Self and Other, an analysis of a Youtube video is presented in an attempt to show the importance of multimodality in the construction of “Rule Britannia” as a sectarian song. The latter occurs as a result of the deployment of different semiotic resources acting in combination to present a dominant Self against a negatively viewed Other.