An Agenda for Gesture Studies
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- What is ‘gesture’?
- Towards a ‘Gesture Kinetics’
- The Shapes of Gesture [‘morpho-kinetics of gesture]
- What kinds of information do gestures encode?
- The significance of gesture
- Gesture and Situation
- Gesture, Language and Culture
- Some items for an introductory bibliography of gesture studies
Although interest in gesture is of very long standing (see Kendon 1982, Schmitt 1984, 1990 for discussions of the history of gesture studies), it is only within the last decade and a half that the relevance of its study to a number of important theoretical issues has again become apparent. For much of this century gesture has been regarded, at best, as a rather trivial aspect of human expression. As a result, despite the large number of books and articles that have been published on the topic since publishing began, we still appear to be on the edge of an unknown territory. This Agenda is an attempt to lay out what appear to be the more important lines of investigation that still need to be pursued in regard to gesture. It is based on a document written (in April 1995) as a personal response to a list of questions about gesture that was circulated privately by Steven Levinson of the Cognitive Anthropology Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen.
In everyday discussion we all think we know what we mean by