Thursday, January 22, 2009

week 3 Modes and Meanings

Kinneavy's "Intro to the Modes of Discourse" sheds light on how the 4 modes indicate specific means or methods for how to approach rhetorical analysis. I like how clear he is in breaking down the difference between static and dynamic discourses and classifies them by their orientation towards time. This is helpful to me as I have never considered narrative, description, classification, and evaluative. Kinneavy explains how not seeing the modes as discreet units and accepting them as fluid and blurring into each other can help develop composition theory progress. Kinneavy's text, itself, is a classification and also a description.

Garret seeks to classify the elements of user of experience into the 5 S's. They are from bottom to top -- strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface. Garret then breaks them into the two fields of user experience. They are "web as software interface" and "web as hypertext system." Like Kinneavy, Garret does not see these divisions of planes as entirely discreet and separate unto themselves, but instead as a porous connection that bleeds together and moves dialogically from top down, as well as bottom up. Garret provides a hybrid between an evaluative and classification mode because he's explaining the drawback and advantages of pursuing use experience across 5 elements.

Miller takes up the question of practicality and technical writing and makes a case for the discipline's need to develop explicitly liberatory aims. She argues that "[i]n a world in which it is more dishonorable to own slaves than it is to work for a living, we might question whether this association should prevail" (Miller15). Miller sees no reason for technical writing to exclusively serve the interests of private wealth or industry. Rather, Miller believes it is incumbent upon the academy to apply the methodology of observation and inquiry in order to develop communication conventions that are transparent and in service to the greater good in humanity. She definitely gives technical writing foes reason to pause and reconsider their motivations. Miller's text is evaluative because it offers a critique of technical writing.

Phaedrus is a narrative that leads the reader into imminent understanding of the ethics and principles of knowledge as it relates to persuasion.