Gesture-based communication and sport activities. An analysis of gesture pattern codes

Research papers
By Pascal Bordes

Whereas analyzing gestures in sports is now widespread, works focusing on a semiotic analysis of the gesture patterns are more rare. Drawing from a corpus of authors dealing with this issue, this paper aims to take this discussion further by clearly distinguishing between gesture and gesture pattern. This involves showing that the latter, as a sign, is inevitably indexed to a particular code of play binding execution and meaning in the constitutive instrumental actions that are allowed in the practice under scrutiny. I shall begin by explaining how gesture patterns pertain to the semiology of communication rather than to sheer expression, before moving on to analyze my corpus. This enables me to distinguish between “motivated” gesture patterns and “arbitrary” gesture patterns—the former being closely linked to the reality they refer to, while the latter show no natural connection to that reality. To end my discussion, I shall consider that gesture patterns make the execution of the motor task easier but play no constitutive part in such an execution. This a-praxical feature shall lead me to define these actions as motor interactions that are both inessential and unnecessary when it comes to how sporting activities work.

  • semiotics
  • communication
  • gesture
  • gesture patterns
  • indexation
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