Baotong Gu

From the oracle bones to the computer: A rhetorical perspective on writing technology development in China

Baotong Gu

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2000; pp: 258
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia A.
  • Source: DAI-A 62/11, p. 3765, May 2002
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Technology (0710)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-493-46052-7
  • UMI Number: AAT 3033098

Abstract:

    This study explores the interrelationship between culture and writing technology development, especially the impact of the former on the latter. Based on and extending Kenneth Burke’s concepts of rhetoric, this study identifies and investigates the six key factors in any process of writing technology development. These factors include exigency, ideology, participants, knowledge creation, knowledge access and control, and communication medium. It argues that writing technology transfer and development are essentially a rhetorical process of knowledge construction, of conceptualizing, reconceptualizing, negotiating, and communicating meanings about technology. It focuses on the prominent role of the cultural context in writing technology development. Applying this rhetorical model of knowledge construction, this study examines the major developments of writing technologies in the history of China, with a particular focus on the development and use of the computer and the Internet as writing media and an analysis of how each of the six elements works to effect such developments. This study concludes that writing technology development is a rhetorical process during which different participants construct the meanings of technology based on their own experiences and that cultural factors thus shape and determine, to a large extent, the development paths of writing technologies.