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The Rhetoric of the Implicit and the Politics of Representation in the Age of Copy-and-Paste

Learning, Media and Technology Volume 37, Number 2, ISSN 1743-9884


The paper discusses the effects of copy-and-paste on the rhetoric and politics of communication in digital environments, by examining direct and indirect (mis)quotation and referencing in “YouTube” video-exchanges and by providing further examples in one-to-one communication via “Facebook” and email. The forwarding of (snippets of) artefacts in new contexts reshapes patterns of coherence and cohesion, producing intertextuality and implicitness. A rhetoric of the implicit shapes the politics of communication in elitist terms, assigning meaning-makers the responsibility for communicative success/failure while discharging sign-makers from obligations of being clear, cohesive, coherent and explicit. Common in informal contexts, such rhetoric may effect also more formal ones, with more or less successful results, hence the usefulness of meta-reflection in raising sign- and meaning-makers' awareness on the varied effects of these practices in different contexts. (Contains 3 notes.)


Adami, E. (2012). The Rhetoric of the Implicit and the Politics of Representation in the Age of Copy-and-Paste. Learning, Media and Technology, 37(2), 131-144. Retrieved February 22, 2019 from .

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