AuthorDewinter, Jennifer Fredale
Committee ChairMcAllister, Ken S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractI examine the role of context as a rhetorical trope. As a rhetorical trope, context tends to fix complex practices in single places, which allows for the celebration of the authentic or original. Further, it privileges production while masking complex practices of circulation and consumption while simultaneously constraining seemingly infinite possibilities into finite frames that then become static and naturalized. These practices need to be examined in order to understand how power is being enacted via the trope of context for the purposes of control and limitation. I argue throughout that these power dynamics need to be addressed--that the ethics of context need to consider who or what is empowered, who or what is disempowered, and decide whether such a situational power dynamic is acceptable or should be changed.I move through the dissertation by first presenting the metaphors of context--maps, frames, and landscapes--discussing the ways in which each of these metaphors control and limit context and therefore control and limit the text. I then analyze the textual and rhetorical context traditions to illuminate the ways in which these two prevalent traditions assume a static and constant original context to which a text belongs. The constant appeal to an origin, I argue, invests a text or artifact with historical aura, which is often used to obscure and limit other critical engagements with a text thus controlling a text's or artifact's possible meanings and transformative power. Following this exploration, I turn my attention to contexts as consumable commodities. I argue that contexts as rhetorical tropes are divorced from the dialectical process of meaning making from a text and can therefore exist as its own entity. As such, contexts can be marketed to and consumed by people. An ethics of context, I conclude, would challenge the god term that context has become in order to expose the power and ideological control that is exerted via a deployment of rhetorical contexts. Such an ethics would address, again, the dialectical formation of texts and contexts--texts define contexts; contexts define texts; they are inseparable.
Degree ProgramRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English