Project

Rhetorical Code Studies

Goal: In my first book project, Rhetorical Code Studies (University of Michigan Press, 2019), I argue that critical attention to the meaningful work performed by software developers in and around the code texts they compose can help us understand more fully and clearly how code operates rhetorically for a variety of purposes. Building on scholarship in digital rhetoric, software studies, and technical communication, I examine a variety of rhetorical qualities present in code and relevant discourse (e.g., emails and forum posts) to demonstrate how software developers, both amateur and professional, communicate not only procedural rules but also stylistic preferences, implicit and explicit arguments for how development of a given program should continue or change, and individual or organizational values. These examinations serve inquiry into, and hold significant implications for, digital communication, multimodal composition, and the cultural analysis of software and its creation.

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Kevin Brock
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You can read the entirety of Rhetorical Code Studies: Discovering Arguments in and around Code on the web at https://www.fulcrum.org/concern/monographs/qr46r210x
 
Kevin Brock
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Winner of the 2017 Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Prize Software developers work rhetorically to make meaning through the code they write. In some ways, writing code is like any other form of communication; in others, it proves to be new, exciting, and unique. In Rhetorical Code Studies , Kevin Brock explores how software code serves as meaningful communication through which software developers construct arguments that are made up of logical procedures and express both implicit and explicit claims as to how a given program operates. Building on current scholarly work in digital rhetoric, software studies, and technical communication, Brock connects and continues ongoing conversations among rhetoricians, technical communicators, software studies scholars, and programming practitioners to demonstrate how software code and its surrounding discourse are highly rhetorical forms of communication. He considers examples ranging from large, well-known projects like Mozilla Firefox to small-scale programs like the “FizzBuzz” test common in many programming job interviews. Undertaking specific examinations of code texts as well as the contexts surrounding their composition, Brock illuminates the variety and depth of rhetorical activity taking place in and around code, from individual differences in style to changes in large-scale organizational and community norms. Rhetorical Code Studies holds significant implications for digital communication, multimodal composition, and the cultural analysis of software and its creation. It will interest academics and students of writing, rhetoric, and software engineering as well as technical communicators and developers of all types of software.
Kevin Brock
added an update
Rhetorical Code Studies is officially out (in print form) as of today. Very soon, a freely available open access version will be made available online.
More information about both can be found here: https://www.press.umich.edu/10019291/rhetorical_code_studies
 
Kevin Brock
added a project goal
In my first book project, Rhetorical Code Studies (University of Michigan Press, 2019), I argue that critical attention to the meaningful work performed by software developers in and around the code texts they compose can help us understand more fully and clearly how code operates rhetorically for a variety of purposes. Building on scholarship in digital rhetoric, software studies, and technical communication, I examine a variety of rhetorical qualities present in code and relevant discourse (e.g., emails and forum posts) to demonstrate how software developers, both amateur and professional, communicate not only procedural rules but also stylistic preferences, implicit and explicit arguments for how development of a given program should continue or change, and individual or organizational values. These examinations serve inquiry into, and hold significant implications for, digital communication, multimodal composition, and the cultural analysis of software and its creation.