Collin Brooke – Lingua Fracta – Chapter 2: Ecology

This chapter is the theoretical framing for Brooke’s book.  In this section Brooke outlines rhetoric and composition’s relationship with the five cannons of rhetoric.  He also references multiple thinkers who have taken up the rhetorical cannons in the recent past.  Finally, he reconceived of the classical triumvirate to provide a new conceptual/theoretical program based in ecologies as a way to situate the cannons.  Here’s a model of the relationships between terms are in this second chapter:

  1. Ecologies
    1. Ecology of code
    2. Ecology of culture
    3. Ecology of practice
      1. i.      Rhetorical Cannons
        1. Invention
        2. Arrangement
        3. Style
        4. Memory
        5. Delivery
  • The first half of the chapter discusses the disciplines relationship with the cannons; specifically, Brooke concentrates on memory and delivery to highlight how these two cannons haven’t actually been diminished by the advent of print culture.  Brooke makes these moves to demonstrate that our rhetorical practice changes as our technologies do, yet, we maintain a particular binary vision of that change (35).
  • Because the cannons haven’t fit nicely into our disciplinary binary of practice and theory, they have been neglected.  To revise this framing of the cannons as neither theoretical or practical Brooke recommends thinking about ecologies in the place of “cannons.”  Brooke does this for a couple of reasons:  1) the concept of an ecological model leaves room for dynamism.  Because we are discussing new media in this work, we need a model that can account not only for what led up to the production of a text, but the activity that follows along as well (38); 2) this dynamism is also important because it provides us with a way to focus on the strategies and tactics that we bring to new media at the same time that our technologies constrain and empower us.
  • To view the cannons ecologically, Brooke asks two questions:  1)  How does this perspective affect our understanding of the cannons themselves, that is how does it address the neglect from the discipline?; and 2)  How does a revised model of the canons fit what me might describe as a disciplinary ecology?
  • Reflecting on the classical trivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic/dialectic), Brooke reforms this triplet in ecological terms.  Brookes new order:
    • Ecology of Code – Comprised not only of grammar, but also of all of those resources for the production of interfaces more broadly construed, including visual, aural, spatial, and textual elements as well as programming codes
    • Ecology of practice – This is the reformulation of the rhetorical cannons for the new media age.  Practice includes all of the “available means” and our decisions regarding which of them to pursue.  This involves not only the practices involved in the creation of interfaces, but also made possible by those interfaces.
    • Ecology of culture – The ecology that determines the ways that cultural assumptions affect discourses and interfaces.
    • Difference between Brooke and Spinuzzi:  Brooke’s ecologies happen at all scales while Spinuzzi’s genre ecologies are bound by different scale sizes.

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