chapter  5
38 Pages

The Gardeners: Forty Years of Editors of and Contributors to the Journals

As the disciplinary community of rhetoric and composition began to define its practices and its rhetorics more explicitly, changes appeared not only in the cognitive but in the social dimensions of the discipline. That is to say, not only what those in the field examined (objects of inquiry), how they examined phenomena (methodology), and the ways they spoke and wrote about matters (genres) changed, but the kinds of individuals who undertook this work also began to shift. Such changes are to be expected. In the process of constructing and distributing knowledge, rhetorical practices and social structures interact in complex ways. In their theoretical explanation of how new ideas emerge within disciplines, David Kaufer and Cheryl Geisler noted that “newness is less a property of ideas than a relationship between ideas and communities. How a discipline defines [the boundary between received and novel information] depends as much on its social organization as on where any particular individual would like to position it” (288). Understanding the social organization of any discipline requires an examination of who has been authorized to speak to, for, and in the discipline.