Genre Innovation: Evolution, Emergence, or Something Else?

Carolyn R. Miller

Abstract


In trying to understand genre innovation and the appearance of what seem to be “new genres” in both new and old media, researchers have relied heavily on the concepts of “evolution” and “emergence,” without theorizing these concepts. These terms are usually associated with science, to analyze biological and physical processes, and both carry entailments worth examining. What work does each model of change do and what work does each keep us from doing? When we adopt the language of evolution or emergence, what do we import to our conceptualization of genres, of large-scale rhetorical action, and of the rhetorical organization of culture? Evolution is anti-essentialist, while emergence allows for the phenomenology of essence; both are terministic screens in Burke’s sense and thus incomplete and partial. There may be no general conceptual model adequate to the variety of cultural phenomena and domains in which genres are of interest, but we can continue to learn by testing our observations of particular examples against these useful concepts. We should be conscious of the assumptions we make about essences and relationships, of how and why we identify something as a genre; we should also be alert to the differences between classification by abstraction and classification by descent.

Keywords


genre innovation; evolution; emergence; cultural category

Full Text:

PDF

References


Altman, R. (1999). Film/genre. London: British Film Institute.

Arthur, W. B. (2009). The nature of technology: What it is and how it evolves. New York: Free Press.

Author. (1980). Environmental Impact Statements and rhetorical genres: An application of rhetorical theory to technical communication. (Ph.D.), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Author. (1984). Genre as social action. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 70(2), 151–176.

Author, & co-author. (2004). Blogging as social action: A genre analysis of the weblog. In L. Gurak, S. Antonijevic, L. Johnson, C. Ratliff & J. Reymann (Eds.), Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and the Culture of Weblogs. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Libraries. Retrieved from http://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/172818.

Ayers, G. (2008). The evolutionary nature of genre: An investigation of the short texts accompanying research articles in the scientific journal nature. English for Specific Purposes, 27, 22–41.

Bazerman, C. (1984). Modern evolution of the experimental report in physics: Spectroscopic articles in physical review, 1893–1980. Social Studies of Science, 14(2), 163–196.

Bazerman, C. (1988). Shaping written knowledge: The genre and activity of the experimental article in science. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Bedau, M. A., & Humphreys, P. (Eds.). (2008). Emergence: Contemporary readings in philosophy and science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Benton, M. J. (2000). Stems, nodes, crown clades, and rank-free lists: Is Linnaeus dead? Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 75(4), 633–648.

Berkenkotter, C., & Huckin, T. N. (1993). Rethinking genre from a sociocognitive perspective. Written Communication, 10(4), 475–509.

Bitzer, L. F. (1968). The rhetorical situation. Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1, 1–14.

Bowler, P. J. (1989). Evolution: The history of an idea (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Boyd, R., & Richerson, P. J. (2005). The origin and evolution of cultures [ProQuest ebrary version]. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/lib/ncsu/detail.action?docID=10233633.

Burke, K. (1966). Terministic screens Language as symbolic action (pp. 44–62). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Clark, M., Ruthven, I., & Holt, P. O. B. (2009). The evolution of genre in Wikipedia. Journal for Language Technology and Computational Linguistics, 24(1), 1–22.

Crowston, K., & Williams, M. (2000). Reproduced and emergent genres of communication on the world wide web. The Information Society, 16(3), 201–215. doi: 10.1080/01972240050133652

Culler, J. (1986). Ferdinand de Saussure. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Dawkins, R. (2006). The selfish gene (30th anniversary edition) [ProQuest ebrary version]. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/lib/ncsu/detail.action?docID=10177946.

Dayton, D. (2002). Evaluating Environmental Impact Statements as communicative action. Journal of Technical and Business Communication, 16(4), 355–405.

Dennett, D. C. (1995). Darwin's dangerous idea: Evolution and the meanings of life. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Dimock, W. C. (2007). Introduction: Genres as fields of knowledge. Publications of the Modern Language Association, 122(5), 1377–1388.

Duff, D. (2009). Romanticism and the uses of genre [Google Books version]. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=0aoBrHCGt3MC&lpg=PP3&ots=_OpOzmMoFs&dq=neoclassical%20genre&lr&pg=PP67#v=onepage&q=neoclassical%20genre-system&f=false.

Duff, D. (Ed.). (2000). Modern genre theory. New York: Pearson Education.

Eisenstein, E. (1979). The printing press as an agent of change: Communications and cultural transformations in early-modern Europe (Vol. 1 and 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Feuer, J. (1992). Genre study and television. In R. C. Allen (Ed.), Channels of discourse, reassembled: Television and contemporary criticism (2nd ed., pp. 138–160). Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Fowler, A. (1971). The life and death of literary forms. New Literary History, 2(2), 199–216.

Fowler, A. (1982). Kinds of literature: An introduction to the theory of genres and modes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Genette, G. (1992). The architext: An introduction (J. E. Lewin, Trans.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Graham, D. W. (n.d.). Heraclitus. In J. Fieser & B. Dowden (Eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/heraclit/.

Gross, A. (2007). Darwin's diagram: Scientific visions and scientific visuals. In K. S. Fleckenstein, S. Hum & L. T. Calendrillo (Eds.), Ways of seeing, ways of speaking: The integration of rhetoric and vision in constructing the real (pp. 52–80). West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press.

Gross, A. G., Harmon, J. E., & Reidy, M. (2002). Communicating science: The scientific article from the 17th century to the present. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hariman, R. (2006). Decorum. In T. O. Sloane (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Rhetoric (Online ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordreference.com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780195125955.001.0001/acref-9780195125955-e-62?rskey=B58t4G&result=1 (2001).

Henze, B. R. (2004). Emergent genres in young disciplines: The case of ethnological science. Technical Communication Quarterly, 13(4), 393–421.

Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S., & Wright, E. (2005). Weblogs as a bridging genre. Information, Technology & People, 18(2), 142–171.

Hoenigswald, H. M. (1962). On the history of the comparative method. Anthropological Linguistics, 5(1), 1–11.

Hyland, K. (2002). Genre: Language, context, and literacy. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22, 113–135.

Jamieson, K. M. (1975). Antecedent genre as rhetorical constraint. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 61, 406–415.

Jamieson, K. M. H. (1973). Generic constraints and the rhetorical situation. Philosophy and Rhetoric, 6(3), 162–170.

Javitch, D. (1998). The emergence of poetic genre theory in the sixteenth century. Modern Language Quarterly: A Journal of Literary History, 59(2), 139-169.

Just, D. (2008). The modern novel from a sociological perspective: Towards a strategic use of the notion of genres. Journal of Narrative Theory, 38(3), 378–397.

Kanaris, I., & Stamatatos, E. (2009). Learning to recognize webpage genres. Information Processing and Management, 45, 499–512.

Killingsworth, M. J., & Palmer, J. S. (1992). Ecospeak: Rhetoric and environmental politics in America. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Kirk, G. S., Raven, J. E., & Schofield, M. (1983). The presocratic philosophers: A critical history with a selection of texts (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the human mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Liestøl, G. (2006). Conducting genre convergence for learning. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning, 16(3/4), 255–270.

Longacre, R. E. (1996). The grammar of discourse (2nd ed.). New York: Plenum Press.

Lovejoy, A. O. (1936). The great chain of being. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lucas, S. E. (1986). Genre criticism and historical context: The case of George Washington's first inaugural address. Southern Speech Communication Journal, 51(4), 354–370.

Lüders, M., Prøitz, L., & Rasmussen, T. (2010). Emerging personal media genres. New Media & Society, 12(6), 947–963.

Maher, J. P. (1966). More on the history of the comparative method: The tradition of Darwinism in August Schleicher's work. Anthropological Linguistics, 8(3, Part II), 1–12.

Margolis, E., & Laurence, S. (2011). Concepts. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/concepts/ (2007).

Martin, J. R., & Rose, D. (2008). Genre relations: Mapping culture [ProQuest ebrary version]. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/lib/ncsu/detail.action?docID=10696998.

Mayr, E. (1982). The growth of biological thought: Diversity, evolution, and inheritance. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Meyer, C., & Girke, F. (Eds.). (2011). The rhetorical emergence of culture. New York: Berghahn Books.

Miller, C. R. (1980). Environmental Impact Statements and rhetorical genres: An application of rhetorical theory to technical communication. (Ph.D.), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Miller, C. R. (1984). Genre as social action. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 70(2), 151–167. doi: 10.1080/00335638409383686

Miller, C. R. (2015). Genre change and evolution. In N. Artemeva & A. Freedman (Eds.), Genre studies around the globe: Beyond the three traditions (pp. 154–185). Edmonton, AB: Inkshed Publications.

Miller, C. R. (In press). Where do genres come from? In C. R. Miller & A. R. Kelly (Eds.), Emerging genres in new media environments. London: Palgrave, Macmillan.

Miller, C. R., & Shepherd, D. (2004). Blogging as social action: A genre analysis of the weblog. In L. Gurak, S. Antonijevic, L. Johnson, C. Ratli & J. Reymann (Eds.), Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and the Culture of Weblogs. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Libraries. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11299/172818.

Mittell, J. (2001). A cultural approach to television genre theory. Cinema Journal, 40(3), 3–24.

Mittell, J. (2004). Genre and television: From cop shows to cartoons in American culture. New York: Routledge.

O'Connor, T., & Wong, H. Y. (2012). Emergent properties. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/properties-emergent/.

O'Hara, R. J. (1988). Homage to Clio, or, toward an historical philosophy for evolutionary biology. Systematic Zoology, 37(2), 144–155.

Østergaard, S., & Bundgaard, P. F. (2015). The emergence and nature of genres—A social-dynamic account. Cognitive Semiotics, 8(2), 97–127. doi: DOI 10.1515/cogsem-2015-0007

Paolillo, J. C., Warren, J., & Kunz, B. (2011). Genre emergence in amateur flash. In A. Mehler, S. Sharoff & M. Santini (Eds.), Genres on the Web: Computational Models and Empirical Studies (pp. 277–302). Dordrecht: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-9178-9_13

Reiss, J. O. (2009). Not by design: Retiring Darwin's watchmaker. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Richards, R. J. (2002). The linguistic creation of man: Charles Darwin, August Schleicher, Ernst Haeckel, and the missing link in nineteenth-century evolutionary history. In M. Dörries (Ed.), Experimenting in tongues: Studies in science and language (pp. 21–48). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Rosch, E. (1978). Principles of categorization Cognition and categorization (pp. 27–48). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Schryer, C. F. (1993). Records as genre. Written Communication, 10(2), 200–234.

Shapin, S. (1996). The scientific revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Siles, I. (2012). The rise of blogging: Articulation as a dynamic of technological stabilization. New Media & Society, 14(5), 781–797.

Skulstad, A. S. (2005). The use of metadiscourse in introductory sections of a new genre. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 15(1), 71–86.

Tardy, C. M. (2015). Beyond Convention: Genre Innovation in Academic Writing. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Wells, S. (2014). Genres as species and spaces: Literary and rhetorical genre in The anatomy of melancholy. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 47(2), 113–136. doi: 10.1353/ par.2014.0010

Wiggins, B. E., & Bowers, G. B. (2014). Memes as genre: A structurational analysis of the memescape. New Media & Society. doi: 10.1177/1461444814535194

Yates, J. (1989). The emergence of the memo as a managerial genre. Management Communication Quarterly, 2(4), 485–510.

Ziman, J. (1968). Public knowledge: The social dimension of science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5617/jmi.v3i2.2432

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.