A term introduce by Tom Pettitt in a plenary conversation at MiT5, “Folk Cultures and Digital Cultures” [date?].

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Tom Pettitt: pdf
We [speak] from within the “Gutenberg Parenthesis”, a cultural realm where it is felt that cultural products (including stage plays and student essays) should be original, independent, autonomous compositions -- the individual achievement and the individual property of those who create them. And we are both incensed by something occurring outside the Gutenberg Parenthesis, if in different directions relative to where we stand. In some ways ahead of his time, Greene was castigating a Shakespeare who operated within a cultural system -- the Elizabethan popular theatre -- which was still on its way into the Gutenberg parenthesis: a popular entertainment business in which sampling and the rest were still legitimate. In many ways behind the times, I am castigating students who are in all other respects being trained to operate within a cultural system -- the digital media -- which is already on its way out of the Gutenberg parenthesis: an internet culture in which sampling and the rest are becoming legitimate.

Trent Batson:
What did writers do before the "Parenthesis"? "Sampling & remixing; borrowing & reshaping; appropriating & recontextualizing," in the words of the call for papers for the conference. This is "the way that some university students now think they should write academic essays," Pettitt says. He says this process, in folklore, is called "quilting." But on campuses, educators call it "plagiarism" unless it is properly cited and does not constitute the majority of the text.

There's a consideration of TheGutenbergParenthesis in Rettberg, Blogging, 2nd ed. A blogger in Weblogs and Wikis in spring, 2014, also wrote a post on the topic. Go forth and search.

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