Melinda Turnley

Re-writing media: A critical investigation of mediological assumptions in composition pedagogies

Melinda Jane Turnley

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2001 pp: 192
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin; Johnson-Eilola, Johndan
  • Source: DAI-A 63/02, p. 585, Aug 2002
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Technology (0710); Education, Teacher Training (0530); Education, Philosophy Of (0998)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304725413
  • ISBN: 0-493-57668-1
  • UMI Number: AAT 3043793


    By approaching media as contextualized, negotiable, and non-deterministic, this project offers a critical framework for exploring media’s interrelated, yet irreducible, components. This framework draws upon cultural studies and critical theories of technology to highlight seven dimensions—technological, social, economic, archival, aesthetic, subjective, and epistemological—that are particularly relevant to critical analyses and uses of media. In order to consider how these different dimensions function in relation to writing pedagogies and teacher training, this study examines two data sources, media questionnaires distributed to composition instructors in the Introductory Writing Program at Purdue University and professionally published pedagogical materials with multimedia components. Both of these sources support the notion that multiple media and diverse textualities increasingly are parts of our cultural spaces and life experiences. These sources, however, also indicate that composition studies still could devote more critical attention to relationships among print and newer electronic media. Some pedagogics position digital media as either neutral tools that can streamline traditional approaches to writing or malevolent forces that threaten print and its corresponding institutions and structures. Rather than forwarding determinisms such as these, this research approaches media as complex, ideologically invested processes that affect (for both good and ill) the practices, goals, and potential relationships within writing classrooms. Thus, this project focuses upon the theories, histories, and cultural contexts of various media and advocates critical, contextualized approaches which consider multiple dimensions of media and view the form and content of texts as mutually constructive.