Articulating Webspace: an articulation theory approach to analyzing Web development

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Chu, Steve
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The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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In this thesis, I argue that scholars and practitioners in professional communication can better understand Web development by analyzing how development practices are articulated to the narratives of the organization in which a Web project takes place. My thesis seeks to answer these two questions: How is the Web development process informed or improved by viewing the Web as a dynamic social space and linking that process to its specific set of circumstances, or conjunctures? How is the concept of Webspace instantiated in a Web development project? To answer these questions, I analyzed the development process of a Web project that took place in the Department of Economics of a major university. I used articulation theory as the overarching framework to examine the specific linkage between Web development and its conjunctures. I developed a set of interview questions based on Ernest Bormann's symbolic convergence theory.;Using these questions, I interviewed three representative members in the Department of Economics to gain a better understanding of members' vision of the Web site and their perception of the circumstances surrounding the Web project. I also met weekly with the Web project leader and taped our discussions. I used the interview and meeting data to help guide the Web development process because answers to my interview questions helped define the vision of the department and the social and professional function of the Web site; thus, the interview and meeting data shaped Webspace, a dynamic social space. I conclude that the concept of Webspace informs the Web development process by connecting the development process to social purpose and function of the Web site. I also argue that Webspace is instantiated in this Web project through participants' control of the development process. Although the project leader is not a tenured faculty, he was able to manipulate the development project to make the Web site a marketing tool.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1998