- conformity requires the adaptation of texts to the contexts in which they will operate" (1985, 28, emphasis added). This is the typical way we talk about messages. In public speaking, for example, you were taught to examine the occasion of the speech and the audience to Whom you were speaking in an effort to figure out the context of the speech so you could best adapt your message to that context.

- Another possible relationship between message and context may be one of non-participation where the message is purposely constructed to not "live up to expectations.” ... message confusing, difficult to understand, or even incomprehensible ... choosing non-participation may work for a rhetor by causing the audience to revisit its assumptions about the topic of the discourse, or causing it to rethink the arguments it has accepted for the status quo. The trick, for a rhetor, is constructing the message in such a way as to avoid being dismissed by the audience as incompetent.

- When we say something was ”desecrated,”, we mean that it was diminished, damaged, or disrespected. ... desecration is an attempt to disrupt communication and cause confusion by purposely violating the rules of rational discourse, particularly the rules of interpretation of texts via contexts; desecration is irrational, mocking, and provides no serious alternative vision.

- Contextual reconstruction occurs when a text violates the expectations but ultimately functions to redefine those expectations, making the violation acceptable to the audience. ... According to Branham and Pearce, “Styles of contextual reconstruction vary in accordance with the breadth of context assaulted and the possibility of meaningful discourse within the revised context. Motives range from the purification or subversion of particular images to fundamental chal- lenges to the intellectual or social orders in which such images function” (1985, 30). That means different situations allow for different sorts of approaches for using messages to change how people understand the context in which they exist.

Stoner and Perkins, chap 4

Text and Context in Four Websites Debriefing


There was some confusion about terminology in some discussion.

Context and description
The problem is determining what is salient in that situation and what is not. A few minutes of research on the background of the artifact is helpful, and make it part of your description. A good part of your description of the site will bring the salient features to light as you pinpoint the real and the implied rhetor and implied audience are. The artifact will signal what's salient - with some careful description. In short, if you're having problems describing the context, you haven't described the artifact closely enough. Have another pass. Return to S&P, chap 4, for a guide.

Here's an example of a systematic description of text and context, and commentary on text-context interaction
http://erhetoric.org/Erhetoric/wikka.php?wakka=TextAndContextProjectNJP. Note a few things

The Sites


Conformity - Logan

Conformity - Emilie


Non-Participation - Emilie

Non-Participation - Shane


Desecration - Shane

Desecration - Cody

Desecration - Nick

Contextual Reconstruction

Contextual Reconstruction - Cody

Contextual Reconstruction - Zack

Contextual Reconstruction - Nick

Odd One Out

Non-participation - Cody
Desecration - Arthur
Desecration - Chris

CategoryProject CategoryExercise
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