By Mr R E Stewart
The essays during this e-book research where of electronic communications or "rhetoric" in sleek tradition. They recommend that, just like the printing revolution prior to it, the net is shaping tectonic cultural circulate, yet is at the moment 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
Surely the social contract is designed to allow for this, and in allowing for it, legitimises and almost provokes it? Some level of cynicism in this unequal distribution of power must be inevitable. The condition of a government so-constituted must produce a degree of cynicism because (even if it is well-intentioned) it will, by definition, not speak for all constituencies of the body politic, leaving those disenfranchised, cynical about its activities. In any televised debate between politicians and the public, the public almost always assumes (by default) a cynical attitude towards the politicians in general and the incumbent administration in particular, regardless of their political colours.
Accountability through greater transparency is a hot topic, but the full extent of transparency might entail meaningful and objective conversations directly with the public (or relevant interest groups) about government activity, in a way that the more flavoured political rhetoric of newspapers cannot provide. A free press has always been seen as essential in free societies in order to hold governments to account, but a transparent and publicly controlled (or even publicly owned) government might make government accountable in more direct, powerful and meaningful ways.
This “fashionista”, or perhaps even “teenager”, view of technology is partly spurred on by the pot of gold that lies at the end of any successful invention, but also by technology as a cultural accessory. Whether it is a new gadget (from iPod to blackberry to iPhone) or a website (from Napster, to MySpace to Facebook to Instagram) its “newness” is almost as important as what the technology actually does. So a new bit of kit or a new “means” supersedes the content, data, substance or “end” it is designed to serve.
A new rhetoric: Essays on using the internet to communicate by Mr R E Stewart