Critical Literacy in A Digital Era: Technology, Rhetoric, and the Public interest, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Literacy in A Digital Era

Technology, Rhetoric, and the Public interest, 1st Edition

By Barbara Warnick


158 pages

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pub: 2001-11-01
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Critical Literacy in a Digital Era offers an examination of the persuasive approaches used in discussions on and about the Internet. Its aim is to increase awareness of what is assumed, unquestioned, and naturalized in our media experience. Using a critical literacy framework for her analysis, author Barbara Warnick argues that new media technologies become accepted not only through their use, but also through the rhetorical use of discourse on and about them. She analyzes texts that discuss new media and technology, including articles from a major technology-oriented periodical; women's magazines and Web sites; and Internet-based political parody in the 2000 presidential campaign. These case studies bring to light the persuasive strategies used by writers to influence public discourse about technology.

The book includes analyses of narrative structures, speech genres, intertextuality, argument forms, writing formulae, and patterns of emphasis and neglect used in traditional and new media outlets. As a result, this distinctive work identifies the features of online speech that bring people and ideas together and enable communities to form in new media environments.

As a unique study of the ways in which ideology is embedded in rhetorical texts, this volume will play a significant role in the development of critical literacy about writing and speech concerning new communication technology. It will be of interest to readers concerned about how our talk about communication affects how we think about it, in particular those interested in communication and social change, public persuasion, and rhetorical criticism of new media content.


"Critical Literacy in a Digital Era provides a solid introduction to rhetorical discourse concerning digital life and the Internet….what Warnick is trying to do--create a book that won't send the casual reader running for the hills due to endless footnotes or impenetrable jargon. Here's hoping that many people pick up her book, people that might be new to studying the Internet, or interested in better understanding a now vital component of our lives."

Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies

"….this Warnick volume constitutes a powerful and insightful way of beginning the examination of the relationships among communication, technology, and the public interest."

Rhetoric Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Introduction: Rhetoric and Critical Literacy. The "New Frontier" in Cyberspace: Wired at Work. Masculinizing the Feminine: Inviting Women Online ca. 1997. Parody With a Purpose: Online Political Parody in the 2000 Presidential Campaign. Conclusion: Whom Does Technology Serve?

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies