Category Archives: Rhetoric

Epistemological Considerations in Technical Communication

I believe that by attempting to clarify or define our epistemology we could make strides towards a more satisfactory and possibly more universally acceptable definition of our field. For that to happen, all students and teachers of TC need to concern themselves deeply with how knowledge in our field is created and also with the ever evolving/changing epistemic processes that underlie knowledge accumulation/gathering/owning.

In my humble opinion, I see large potential for TC in the latter aspect, from two perspectives: 1. understanding our epistemology and the evolution of epistemic processes in phases of major transition in the way we communicate (and I believe we are in one now, as we were during, for example, the transition from primary to secondary orality), and 2. embracing TC’s role and genuine value to guide these transitions and to make them successful. Continue reading Epistemological Considerations in Technical Communication

Brave New World (6): Now What?

This review of the literature, while limited in scope, does point out the general need for continued review and revision of rhetorical concepts based on new constellations of communication afforded by interactive, participatory, customizable Web 2.0 technologies. Careful examination of the rhetorical situation for each emerging new online communication medium is needed to determine applicable rhetorical concepts. Students have to be prepared for operating in the new communication media with adequate pedagogical strategies. Continue reading Brave New World (6): Now What?

Brave New World (5): The Medium Matters

Throughout my review of the literature and my own daily experience, one theme has emerged as an umbrella over all the three aforementioned foci of research: the technology used to communicate plays a fundamental role when considering the rhetorical concept or theory to be applied.

Barbara Warnik (2005) calls for researchers in the field of new media rhetoric to propose new methods of study for the examination of electronic text rather than focus on methods that can be characterized as printcentric. Continue reading Brave New World (5): The Medium Matters

Brave New World (3): New Rhetorical Concepts

Throughout the history of rhetoric, traditional theories and concepts have been examined and reexamined many times to adapt to new communication media and technologies. With the strong emergence of Web 2.0 communication technologies and the immense popularity of social media the reexamination of traditional concepts naturally continues. This relatively small review of the literature strongly suggests the general agreement among theorists that traditional concepts have to be revisited, revised, and reconceptualized in light of the participatory Web 2.0 communication technologies and the associated rhetorical situations that make them sustainable.

Continue reading Brave New World (3): New Rhetorical Concepts

The micro-blog: Fitting response to rhetorical exigence of virtual, social bonding

Organizations harbor a specific rhetorical context, rhetorical situations based on organizational culture, expectations, norms, processes, rules, and social environment. According to Bitzer (1986) a situation is rhetorical if rhetoric can at least in part mitigate the situation’s exigence by provoking action from the audience. Bitzer assumes the rhetorical situation to be one that is objective and real and calls for rhetorical solution, i.e. the situation precedes the rhetorical response. Vatz (1973), on the other hand, contends that there is no situation before rhetoric gives rise to one, i.e. rhetoric, by making it salient in a particular way, creates a situation. The fundamental difference between these views is the interpretation of rhetoric as a response to reality versus rhetoric as the creator of reality.

At this point, I will introduce an additional view regarding the birth of a rhetorical situation: Continue reading The micro-blog: Fitting response to rhetorical exigence of virtual, social bonding

Bib: Rice, Jeff. (2008) “Urban Mappings: Rhetoric of the Network.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 38.2 (Spring 2008): 198-218.

Rice, Jeff. (2008) “Urban Mappings: Rhetoric of the Network.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 38.2 (Spring 2008): 198-218.

Jeff Rice proposes rhetoric of database-driven online mapping of spaces and names it the rhetoric of the network. Using an SNL skit about the quality of online mapping services, such as Google Maps and MapQuest, as a starting point, Rice outlines how these services use particular “types of informational arrangement for the purpose of invention.” Continue reading Bib: Rice, Jeff. (2008) “Urban Mappings: Rhetoric of the Network.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 38.2 (Spring 2008): 198-218.

Praxis, practice, practical, pragmatism

Being ‘practical’ can mean to get s.th. done in an efficient and effective manner. Aims can be ‘practical’ (as opposed to ritualistic/artistic). One can be practical about a practical action, such as baking bread or building a chair, i.e. do this action that is practical in and of itself in an efficient way. Being practical, according to Carolyn Miller in What’s Practical about Technical Writing? entails an efficiency or goal-orientedness “that relies on rules proved through use rather than on theory, history, experience, or general appreciation.” Continue reading Praxis, practice, practical, pragmatism