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Reflections on Case Study #1: Responding to Chvonne and Summer

I enjoyed reading Chvonne’s blog about Snapchat and Summer’s blog about MMOs (specifically WoW).

For her case study, Chvonne applied mostly Bitzer’s theory of the rhetorical situation to Snapchat, focusing on how an event serves as the exigence for the Snapchat and how meaning is created primarily by the author of the Snapchat (interpretation of the event).

In her case study, Summer applied Bazerman’s theory of genres to World of Warcraft (WoW), focusing players’s conformity to guild social rules and norms as “social facts” and interactions as speech acts.

Considering these two analyses together makes me think about how meaning is created in different theories of networks. From Chvonne’s example of Snapchat and Bitzer’s theory, meaning seems to be created by the individual (I’d argue that it’s both the author of the Snapchat AND the audience-turned-author in response who create meaning in this application). Meaning is manipulated by individuals as they respond to the exigence. In contrast, Summer’s application of genre theory situates meaning as culturally-negotiated as party of the social system. Members of the network create the rhetorical situation and, thereby, the standards and norms of the network. Bazerman’s concepts of locutionary and illocutionary acts and perlocutionary effects account for the negotiations between the individuals that Bitzer’s theory neglects.

Summer’s application of genre theory stirred me to think about the next case study and how I might begin to apply Bazerman’s concepts to my own Object of Study. If we consider the field of writing centers as a (global) social system in which individual writing centers create their own (local) social systems, we can begin to consider how the social facts of the global system not only dictate the speech acts of but are also transformed by the local systems.