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Title:Recruiting composition: examining the social relations in promoting text circulation
Author(s):Marks-Dubbs, Kaitlin
Director of Research:Prior, Paul A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Prior, Paul
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hawisher, Gail E.; Schaffner, Spencer W.; Mortensen, Peter L.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):literacy sponsorship
composite sponsorship
dislocated sponsorship
confluent sponsorship
recruiting composition
Abstract:This dissertation examines how phenomena of recomposition relate to notions of literacy sponsorship. Several examples I examine demonstrate explicit practices of composing for strategic recomposition (Ridolfo and DeVoss 2009), such as retailer Babeland’s recruitment of Facebook users to spread its brand name and sex-positive ideology to potential consumers; social activist clementine cannibal’s recruitment of grrrls to spread feminist ideology throughout their virtual and geopolitical communities; and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recruitment of reporters, bloggers, and social network users to prevent the spread of suicide contagion. As digital technologies and networks have increasingly facilitated methods for recomposing and recirculating texts as consumer-producers, the study of sponsorship as a phenomenon that structures channels for information distribution and that acts upon those who consume sponsored writers’ texts has gained in importance. However, my study of interactions between text-promoters and their sharers and of a series of outbreak narratives portraying the circulation of popular or purportedly dangerous texts uncovers the inadequacies of existing frameworks—top-down sponsorship, memetics, and virality—for conceptualizing the production and spread of texts. These constructions, I find, frequently reduce complex social relations to analogical models that portray sponsored writers, text-sharers, and readers as acted upon, afflicted, or otherwise interpellated. I argue that rather than simply describing or even illuminating systems of compositional activity, these conceptual frameworks can operate to favor producers who wish to efface their involvement in promoting certain interests and that richer understandings of compositional participation are required to recover participants’ agency within the necessarily collaborative activities of circulating composition.
Issue Date:2015-07-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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