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Urban Communication Reader IV

Cities as Communicative Change Agents


Edited By erin daina mcclellan, Yongjun Shin and Curry Chandler

Today, the world is facing climate change, wealth inequality, housing crises, food shortages, mass migration, and now a global health pandemic. Cities are at the heart of both these problems and their solutions. Urban communication scholars are well-poised to examine the change initiatives that are both caused and inspired by such complex problems. This volume provides a collection of urban communication research focused on how examining change through the lens of communication provides unique processual understandings of cities as dynamic sites formed through the interplay between concrete cases and conceptual ideas. The first section, Change through Institutional Intervention, addresses how diverse societal institutions—including policy, regulation, planning, and voluntary arts—interplay with changes in our urban communities. The second section, Change in Place and through Space, explores various ways in which spaces and places are able to transform through communicative practice, specifically focusing on how space and place provide unique frames for communicating change and influencing interaction in cities. The third section, Change through Participation and Engagement, collectively draws attention to the ways that public participation and engagement are utilized in cities in ways that enhance the communication both within and about them, focusing specifically on how this happens globally in teaching and learning environments, community planning partnerships, industrial site redevelopment projects, and approaches to food sovereignty in urban agricultural initiatives.
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12. Changing Place Identity by Visual Design? A Rhetorical Field Study of a Post-Industrial Place Development Project: IBEN BRINCH JØRGENSEN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH-EASTERN NORWAY, NORWAY


12. Changing Place Identity by Visual Design? A Rhetorical Field Study of a Post-Industrial Place Development Project



The chapter forms a rhetorical criticism of a specific intersection of rhetorical texts and practices from a place development project in Larvik, Norway. The critique springs out of a rhetorical field study of the process of creating the visual identity, a website and a logo, of a transformed old ironworks. Recent rhetorical theory of establishing in situ rhetorical method based on ethnography, performance studies, and phronetic research is discussed. The chapter introduces a rhetorical field method for research on place development, integrating discursive “nexus analysis” in an observing, participating and co-productive practice. In the examination of the rhetorical practice in the project, Kenneth Burke’s dramatism is used and, in the analysis of the visual shapes, a theory of multimodal shaping is applied. It is demonstrated that the rhetorical practices and the mediated discourses are circling around a “nexus of the exclusive” in a double meaning: The practice is exclusive to certain perspectives and people, and choices of symbols reflect the valuation of the unique and exclusive products of the place.

Keywords: place development, post-industrial heritage, rhetoric of place, rhetorical field methods, nexus analysis, Kenneth Burke, multimodality, visual rhetoric

In the post-industrial era, industrial buildings and areas lie abandoned, ready for destruction, transformation or reuse. The rhetorical practices formed by place development projects are situations of great...

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