Pragmatic charge of visual resources in constructing positive university reputation: based on texts at university websites


Drawing on the interpretation of visual images as a social semiotic resource of meaning making, this paper discusses how visual resources contribute to establishing symbolic capital in academic discourse. It is based on approaches in discourse analyses and social semiotics and reflects the social semiotic concept of visual validity. The object of the undertaken analysis is university academic reputation. The study rests on the research of texts published on the websites of 30 Russian national research and federal universities. It presumes that reputation is the informational track of past actions focused today in the digital space. At the university websites, it is reflected in an extended and detailed representation of the past activities and achievements of the national university. We suggest that the information on the university websites is not to be seen as just adding of new details in information exchange, but rather as pragmatically value-based selected information. Evaluative representation of the university past records through images (photography) is revealed as a special tool to distinguish an academic institution and make it visible and superior for different stakeholders. Images are considered as a part of the processes of shaping social values.