Author Archives: herzogtechblog

Henry, Chapter 4

Henry, Chapter 4:


  • Implied authors: A persona of the writer which embodies cultural norms and values (74)
  • Suspension of personal values in service of the organization may be required
  • Vague discourse is sometimes most effective
  • Self-documentation needs to be developed
  • Editing as cultural renewal or reproduction
  • The organization employs writers; writers may employ the organizational culture


  • Writers as “discursive functionaries” (74)
  • Status within the organization as an important part of self-identity as a writer

–> the functionary status is unrewarding (76)

–> discrepancy between status and purview undercuts projects

–>the notion of “flexibility” leads to a tenuous status


  • Roles may emerge (from “daughter” to “idea generator” to “translator”), but social roles can influence professional roles negatively (77)
  • Writers should try to elaborate their own roles
  • The “talking handbook” is an archaic role
  • Better: “idea generator” who sparks discussion (78)
  • The roles of teams are certain to diversify
  • Writers are links to the exterior

Document Processes

  • Document routing and repetitive publication processes can lead to reluctance towards accepting new concepts (81)
  • Writers may encounter disparities between information they receive and information necessary to be efficient
  • Because of hierarchies, writers may be subject to disciplining
  • Collective authorship: writers mesh individuality with collective representation
  • Frequently shifting subjectivities as team members
  • Workplace subjectivities are not only shaped by local culture, but also by links to outside cultures (e.g. collaboration)

Subcultural Dynamics

  • A writer’s subjectivity encounters other subjectivities shaped by organizational positioning (84)
  • Writers will encounter ways of knowing grounded in other kinds of discourse communities and discursive practices
  • Writers may encounter dynamics from below, beside or above them in the hierarchy

Cultural Stabilization and Change

  • Writers can be both agents of stabilization and agents of change (86)
  • Writers are likely to be strongly socialized into a culture’s norms and values
  • Writers’ subjectivities shift with organizational changes

Organizational Goals

  • Writers are unlikely to realize personal goals if they are opposed to larger organizational goals (88)
  • In some context, organizational goals and organizational authorship are nearly synonymous

New Unities

  • Resituate “role” with respect to ongoing social constructions of realities à discourse, events (88)
  • Monitor own writing practices in relation to the local culture’s norms and values (89)
  • Perceive subcultural dynamics
  • Assume greater say in organizational goals



Columbia Closings

Here is a link to an interesting website. It features photos and background information about closed businesses in the greater Columbia area (restaurants, shops, etc.).

Sometimes people comment on the different entries and share their stories about actually going to these places when they were still open.

This could be material for an assignment, probably finding out why some of the businesses had to close by interviewing business neighbors or people who live close by. That’s just a thought, though. It’s probably also a genre with a strong visual component – most of these places look very bleak now.

Genre ecology assignment

Here is my assignment for the genre ecology section:

Look at the Carolina Honor Code and the Carolinian Creed on USC’s website

and see how it applies to ethics and ethical behavior in general by comparing to either another university’s honor code (for example, Brigham Young or Notre Dame) or to a fraternity’s or sorority’s code. Interviewing a fraternity or sorority member is the best way to obtain first-hand information on the subject. Also, try to find out what kinds of sanctions are used if people break the code in a way.

For the university honor code section, get in touch with the Office of Academic Integrity and find out about their penalties and counseling that is used when people commit an offense. This can be done with other universities by e-mailing the respective office there. If there is a code, then there is an official function that deals with offenses, too.

What do all honor codes have in common? How do they differ, and why?

Spinuzzi: Networks, Chapter 3, main points

Here is my brief rundown of chapter 3. The assignment related to the material will follow on Friday this week.

Activity system: Mediational means based on subject/object relation towards an outcome, which in turn is based on rules, community, and division of labor


  • Primary: conflict between exchange value and use value
  • Secondary: conflict between the corners of the activity system
  • Tertiary: conflict between culture and object (example: a pre-school kid wants to go to school to play, but the parents and teachers expect him to learn)

Different systems:

a) Chained (mass production/modular)

b) Overlapping (knotworking, self-organization)


  • Polycontextuality (tasks and communities)
  • Boundary crossing (between tools, relationships, social languages, etc.)
  • Problematization (stakeholders problem)
  • Interessement (defining stakeholders, splicing)
  • Enrollment (definition of roles)
  • Mobilization (collective solution/representation)

Pragmatics opens the system up to other things (pragmatism not as a negative concept)

Common ground between activity theory and actor-network theory: both are monist and materialist approaches to define activity



Information Ecologies assignment

Obviously, the first part of the assignment would be for the students to read the text by Nardi and O’Day. Then, a possible connecting task could be:

Think of an information ecology that you are a part of and describe the way it functions. What are the keystone species within it? What is its habitation? What are the different spheres of influence and commitment?

Alternative: A copy shop, a bank, and a library are all ecologies. What about a university, a sports team, or a fraternity? Pick one and find out if it is an ecology or a community by looking at its structure and the way it functions.

CV and cover letter assignment

Here is my full assignment sheet for the CV and cover letter task:

In this assignment, you will create a CV and letter of application that are geared toward a particular job advertisement or career fair event. You will use actual education and work-related information about yourself to create useful and realistic documents. This assignment will either help you to create a CV and letter “from the ground up”, or it will help you to substantially improve documents you have already prepared.

1. Identify your audience.

2. Recall all relevant information about your education, work experience, honors, special skills, etc.

3. Draft a letter of application that is specific to the position you are seeking.

Your documents will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

1. Formatting

2. Organization

3. Language in the application letter

4. Effectiveness of application letter

5. Elaboration of education and work experience in the letter as related to the information in the CV.

(adapted from

First assignment

I would like to do the first item on the list, vita plus cover letter.

Is that a traditional CV with a personal statement, or is the cover letter supposed to be more like a statement of teaching philosophy?