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Toward a Grammar of the Blogosphere: Rhetoric and Attention in the Networked Imaginary

Pfister, Damien Smith (2009) Toward a Grammar of the Blogosphere: Rhetoric and Attention in the Networked Imaginary. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores the rhetorical imaginary of internetworked societies by examining three cases where actors in the blogosphere shaped public deliberation. In each case, I analyze a trope that emerged organically as bloggers theorized their own rhetorical interventions, and argue that these tropes signal shifts in how citizens of networked societies imagine their relations. The first case study, on the blogosphere's reaction to Trent Lott's 2002 toast to Strom Thurmond, examines how bloggers "flooded the zone" by relentlessly interpreting the event and finding evidence that eventually turned the tide of public opinion against Lott. Flooding the zone signifies the inventional possibilities of blogging through the production of copious public argument. The second case study, focusing on the 2003 blogging of the Salam Pax, an English-speaking Iraqi living in Iraq on the precipice of war, develops the idea of "ambient intimacy" which is produced through the affective economy of blogging. The ambient intimacy produced through blogging illustrates the blurring of traditional public/private distinctions in contemporary public culture. The third case study, on the group science blog RealClimate, identifies how blogs have become sites for translating scientific controversies into ordinary language through a process of "shallow quotation." The diffusion of expertise enabled by the interactive format of blogging provides new avenues to close the gap between public and technical reasoning. The dissertation concludes by examining the advent and implications of "hyperpublicity" produced by ubiquitous recording devices and digital modes of circulation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pfister, Damien Smithdap14@pitt.eduDAP14
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMitchell, Gordon Rgordonm@pitt.eduGORDONM
Committee MemberWarnick, Barbarabwarnick@pitt.eduBWARNICK
Committee MemberCrowley,
Committee MemberLyne, Johnjlyne@pitt.eduJLYNE
Date: 17 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 January 2009
Approval Date: 17 June 2009
Submission Date: 8 April 2009
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: attention; blogging; blogosphere; deliberation; imaginaries; rhetoric
Other ID:, etd-04082009-135559
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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