Il disvelamento della politica in House of Cards. Un approccio sociosemiotico multimodale

Paolo Parmeggiani


The paper analyzes the communication strategy of the 13th episode of the fourth season of House of Cards. This political drama offers viewers a communicative pact that underlies their social competence to distinguish among the different frames of realism, verisimilitude, sincere confidence, staged fiction, and/or public media representation. Because the episode’s meta message to its audience is that whatever is visible has been artfully constructed (both in private and public), the protagonist pedagogically invites the viewer to interpret the facts presented in the episode with cynicism. The themes and the characters are closely related to contemporary television news and political agendas (the events and protagonists of the 2016 US presidential election, foreign policy, the war against terrorism). The paper’s analytical approach is multimodal socio-semiotic: in it, I focus on the degree of realism ascribed to different frames (according to Goffman’s theory) and analyze the visual markers of photorealism. In particular, I investigate, with the help of digital tools, the conventions adopted in the direction of photography and color grading to differentiate frames and convey the story’s trustworthiness and the politicians’ dishonesty.


House of Cards; socio-semiotic; frame; modality; direction of photography; color grading

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/7630


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