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The Conceit of Context

Resituating Domains in Rhetorical Studies


Edited by Charles E. Morris III and Kendall R. Phillips

This edited volume features essays derived from presentations delivered at the 15th Biennial Public Address Conference held at Syracuse University in October 2016, as well as additional material. The Conceit of Context explores the often invoked—indeed a central term in the history of rhetorical studies—but less often engaged concept of context. In this volume, we center the notion of context as the site of engagement, critique, and imagination, seeking to deepen the critical and political promise of context in the study of public discourse.

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Gay Men and Feminist Women in the Fight for Equality

“What Did You Do During the Second Wave, Daddy?”


D. Travers Scott

What did gay men do in women’s liberation—and vice-versa? This book offers the first systematic investigation of the question. Conventional wisdom has offered varied and contradictory stories: Gay men were misogynistic enemies of feminism; feminist women were homophobic or androphobic; feminist women and gay men collaborated only during the 1960s-1970s liberation moment; lesbians rushed in to work with gay men during the AIDS crisis. Examined for the first time in this book, their stories are much more complex, yesterday and today. Feminist women and gay men have had dynamic relations in popular thinking and historic practice, including commonality, opposition, and intellectual contributions. Written by a feminist-identified gay man, this book forges an examination of these two groups’ alliances and obstacles over the past 50 years, as well as their communications of, between, and about each other. What have been the received views of how these groups have or have not worked together politically? What historical evidence supports, contradicts, or complicates these views? New findings help illuminate understandings of the past and present of US women’s and LGBTQ movements, as well as broader relations between social movements in general. With a special focus on neglected areas of research, such as the US South, it also argues for how these social movements shaped ideas about what it means to be gay and/or feminist. This book is suitable in whole or excerpt for classes in LGBTQ studies, women’s studies, feminist theory, social movements, American studies, and US history.

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Metaphors of Internet

Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity


Edited by Annette N. Markham and Katrin Tiidenberg

What happens when the internet is absorbed into everyday life? How do we make sense of something that is invisible but still so central? A group of digital culture experts address these questions in Metaphors of Internet: Ways of Being in the Age of Ubiquity.

Twenty years ago, the internet was imagined as standing apart from humans. Metaphorically it was a frontier to explore, a virtual world to experiment in, an ultra-high-speed information superhighway. Many popular metaphors have fallen out of use, while new ones arise all the time. Today we speak of data lakes, clouds and AI. The essays and artwork in this book evoke the mundane, the visceral, and the transformative potential of the internet by exploring the currently dominant metaphors. Together they tell a story of kaleidoscopic diversity of how we experience the internet, offering a richly textured glimpse of how the internet has both disappeared and at the same time, has fundamentally transformed everyday social customs, work, and life, death, politics, and embodiment.

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Navigating Relationships in the Modern Family

Communication, Identity, and Difference


Edited by Jordan Soliz and Colleen Warner Colaner

Despite growing recognition of the diversity of family forms and structures, discourses among family scholars and practitioners as well as in popular culture continue to operate from the assumption that families are fairly homogeneous in terms of the values and beliefs, social positions, and identities of individual family members. Navigating Relationships in the Modern Family provides a unique and important perspective on how communication within and about families related to issues of identity and difference can ameliorate negative processes and, at times, potentially amplify positive outcomes such as well-being and relational solidarity. Chapters in this edited volume focus on divergent social identities in the family (e.g., interfaith families, multiethnic-racial families, acculturation and immigration) as well as differences emerging from family formative processes (e.g., stepfamilies, in-law relationships, foster care). In addition to synthesizing the current state of the scholarship in these particular family contexts, each chapter discusses the interplay between families and the larger social and cultural context. For instance, how does grandparent-grandchild communication influence attitudes toward older adults and aging? Can we improve interfaith dialogue in larger societal interactions by understanding communication in interfaith families? How do ideologies of social class and social discourses about adoption and foster care influence family functioning? Chapters conclude with a discussion on implications for scholars and family practitioners. The edited volume would make an ideal primary or secondary required text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses on families as well as specialized family courses on understudied family relationships and forms. The volume also serves as an important resource for family scholars and practitioners.

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Navigating the News

A Guide to Understanding Journalism


Edited by Richard Craig

In an age when young people may confuse online chatter with legitimate news, Navigating the News is the first textbook designed to show students how to recognize credible reporting and how real journalists perform their jobs.

The book begins with the basics of how to critically assess news stories, then covers what to look for in everything from community news and crime reporting to business, political and investigative coverage. More than 50 professional journalists share insights on how they gather, edit and report news, and discuss what critical audiences should expect from their news coverage.

Students learn how to analyze complex topics including science, environmental and education news, and a series of chapters covers how to approach news from different parts of the world.

Navigating the News is aimed at general audiences, not just journalism or communication majors. Given the importance and timeliness of the subject, this book could easily be the core text for general education classes on news and media literacy. The trend toward teaching young people how to understand and assess news is gaining momentum at universities everywhere.

The book is written in a clear, straightforward style to engage students who may be getting their first taste of adult issues and concerns. Even students who have avoided "serious" news growing up will gain tools for understanding, assessing and processing coverage of complex stories.

The mission of this text is simple: If students don’t recognize what real news is, Navigating the News is going to teach them.

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Produsing Theory in a Digital World 3.0

The Intersection of Audiences and Production in Contemporary Theory – Volume 3


Edited by Rebecca Ann Lind

Continuing the explorations begun in the first two Produsing Theory volumes, this book investigates some of the tensions generated in the spaces enabled by the confluence of the formerly disparate activities of producing and consuming media. Multiple and varied theories—some still emerging—are invoked in attempts to illuminate the spaces between what previously had been neatly-separated components of media systems. This book is useful in a number of courses such as media culture and theory, introduction to new media, the Internet and the audience, new media theory and research, mass communication theory, emerging media, critical analysis and new media, concepts of new media, new media participants, new media in a democratic society, critical studies in new media, new media and social media, digital media studies, participatory media, media audiences in a digital world, digital cultures and social media, Web culture and new media studies, introduction to new media, new media and society, and more.

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Edited by Gevisa La Rocca, Roberto Di Maria and Gino Frezza

The volume is a collection of essays – the result of studies, research, projects – on the theme of migration, of the condition of refugees and asylum seekers, of respect for or violation of human rights, of the narration of these events in the media. It offers a lucid glance, through the voice of several scholars, of the European scenario and its evolution in recent years. The narrative space expands itself, including the US scenario.

The volume is divided into four main sections: Media, Migrants and Human Rights, voted to introduce the main themes; Vulnerability and Human Rights, that explores the themes of the weakest people; Migrations in the Media System, which traces the importance of the narrative of migration in the media system; the Additional Points section closes the volume, to not leave anything unexplored.

The volume proposes a journey – with many paths – to discover the academic sense of migration.

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William L. Benoit and Andrew C. Billings

Mass communication theories were largely built when we had mass media audiences. The number of television, print, film or other forms of media audiences were largely finite, concentrating people on many of the same core content offerings, whether that be the nightly news or a popular television show. What happens when those audiences splinter? The Rise and Fall of Mass Communication surveys the aftermath of exactly that, noting that very few modern media products have audiences above 1–2% of the population at any one time. Advancing a new media balkanization theory, Benoit and Billings neither lament nor embrace the new media landscape, opting instead to pinpoint how we must consider mass communication theories and applications in an era of ubiquitous choice.
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Madeleine Liseblad

American Consultants and the Marketization of Television News in the United Kingdom provides  unprecedented insight into American news consultants’ role in reshaping British television news during the 1990s. In 1986, American research and news consulting company Frank N. Magid Associates began infiltrating the British market. Five years later, the company was consulting for an extensive list of British client stations in preparation for the 1991 Independent Television (ITV) franchise auction. Their efforts were controversial, prompting public outcry against the "Americanization" of British television news. Despite the hostile climate, Magid’s efforts were successful. Nine of their eleven client bidders emerged victorious from the franchise auction. This was only the beginning. Throughout the 1990s, Magid employees crisscrossed the country with research studies, business and marketing plans, and writing and storytelling seminars. At the time, this was the company’s largest venture into international television.

American consultants’ work abroad is important. They spread the U.S. model—the origin of today’s on-air style—and changed television news globally by working with indigenous media. Yet, despite their vast influence, limited research has been conducted on their international efforts, largely because of proprietary material. This book is based on unprecedented and unrestricted access to Magid’s archives. In addition, interviews with Magid staff and U.K. journalists allow for a comprehensive examination of the marketization of British television news, attending especially to how news became better tailored to the medium and audience; the key concepts that Magid advocated to be integrated into U.K. news; and the societal forces at play in this transformation.

American Consultants and the Marketization of Television News in the United Kingdom is a recommended read for anyone interested in journalism and television history, Americanization, media economics and sociology.

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Promoting Monopoly

AT&T and the Politics of Public Relations, 1876-1941


Karen Miller Russell

Since the invention of the telephone in 1876, publicity has been central to the growth of the industry. In its earliest years the Bell company enjoyed a patent monopoly, but after Alexander Graham Bell’s patents expired, it had to fight competitors, the public, and the U.S. government to maintain control of the telephone network. It used every means its executives could imagine, and that included constructing one of the earliest and most effective public relations programs of its time. This book analyzes the development of public relations at AT&T, starting with a previously forgotten publicist, William A. Hovey, and then including James D. Ellsworth and Arthur W. Page, who worked with other Bell executives to create a company where public relations permeated almost every aspect of work, leveraging employee programs, stock sales, and technological research for PR. Critics accused it of disseminating propaganda, but the desire to promote and protect the Bell monopoly propelled the creation of a corporate public relations program that also shaped the legal, political, media, and cultural landscape.