By Mr R E Stewart
The essays during this ebook learn where of electronic communications or "rhetoric" in sleek tradition. They recommend that, just like the printing revolution earlier than it, the web is shaping tectonic cultural circulate, yet is presently stuck among conventional technocratic methods of pondering, and the extra unpredictable terrain of human behaviour.
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Extra info for A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate
It came second because human beings, fitfully, clumsily, with a sort of default incompetence, realised that the new tool has the potential to serve intrinsic interests, appetites and ideas, but also realised that they don’t have the time, energy or aptitude to understand the technology in its unadulterated form. Usability and the user experience help us to overcome this obstacle. They also underline content as the thing that really matters, because they exist to make the content possible; they bring the new technology in touch with the data, or material which fires human interest.
This provides an example of technology triumphing over content in a slightly different way. The political circumstances of the Reformation meant that an acute awareness of the technology and its power affected, or restricted, what could be said through it. Because the religious groups recognised its power, they exploited it for rhetorical and political purposes, limiting the nature of the content, in some cases to a comparatively narrow, proselytising purpose. So, in the early days of the printing press, the press as technology was a subject of scrutiny because it was new and trying to advertise its potential, because it, often controversially, provided a way to change the nature and terms of debate and culture, and because it was quite simply an innovation that made all sorts of new things possible.
Academics are already quick to acknowledge difference as a condition of their research. It has almost become a subject of satire. Historians, social scientists, geographers, archaeologists, philosophers, students of literature, all approach their subjects through cultural niches, and new accounts and narratives unfold from the perspective of gender, sexual orientation, social class, and ethnic background (among others). Some of this often feels like it challenges power with more power. It is assertive, even aggressive, designed as much to subvert, satirise, challenge or topple the perspective of an especially thrusting and assertive demographic - the church, the political elite or a “male, pale, and stale” hegemony - with a spurious claim to one prevailing story.
A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate by Mr R E Stewart