Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design

Advisor

Katz, Steven

Committee Member

Feeser , Andrea

Committee Member

Dietrich , David

Committee Member

Williams , Sean

Abstract

This dissertation is a study of the rhetorical concept of techne and how it might inform the field of Information Design, specifically in an Instructional Design space. I argue that current models of Information Design draw insights from (a) the scientistic models that emphasize rational and universal reach (b) the craft tradition that places emphasis on mechanistic acquisition of the right skills and (c) an interpretive rhetorical model. These perspectives dominate the Instructional Design paradigm, rendering systems-based design processes that at times eschew designing in favor of organizing. I suggest that the discipline requires a remediated epistemic techne shaped by models proper to the crafts and broadened to physical embodiment and sculpting physical knowledge. This enhanced model emerging from practices in sculpture and enhanced by participatory/meta form of design is epistemic techne, given that the philosophy of techne is a high form of practical reasoning whose adaptation to Instructional Design is knowledge in making.
Because the literature of Information Design is vast and still emerging, my analysis emphasizes the dominant perspectives. The challenge posed by both the histories of techne and of Information Design is that of a series of rhetorical paradigms that have at once prescribed and defined these concepts. What we see emerging, and certainly, what I wish to put forth, is a genuine ethos of expertise amenable to changing strategies of Information Design demonstrative of an epistemic techne.

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