Situated: Literacy, Rhetoric, Narrative

A blog focussing on the “situatedness” of cultural and academic literacy.

This weblog is the convergence of two blogs I have been working on in the past.
As a member of constant I started the blog (the) museum and (new) media on which I wanted to research what is happening in museums today (“after the party is over”) in relation to new media. How are artists thinking about the possible functions for a museum not only in the exhibition but also in the production of their work? How do curators see their work in a museum in relation to the new potentialities created by new media. How do cultural critics see the function of the museum in contemporary society?
As a research assistant from Ghent University I also started a blog about my Phd-research on cultural and academic literacy. This blog served as a space to collect quotes, to present ideas, to (re)formulate a hypothesis and to publish draft versions.

These two blogs are now merged into SITUATED, a blog on which I want to focus on the “situatedness” of cultural and academic literacy. In the Department of Education at Ghent University the team I work in (under supervision of Ronald Soetaert) has been researching literacy practices for several years now. Besides many projects on arts education, digitization and the relationship between culture and education in general, there has been research on the role of literature in a post-modern society and education (André Mottart). Another research focused on the representation of literacy in popular Hollywood narratives (Ive Verdoodt).

My own research focuses on academic and cultural literacy. I want to look at the literacy practices that take place when someone enters a specific (discourse) community. What are the codes that count in a particular setting and what is the reason why neophytes often feel clueless about these codes. In first instance I will look at how this happens in academia with students from several backgrounds. But I also want to broaden this research up to other “(sub)cultural settings”.

Why the fusion of these two blogs? On the one hand there are of course some practical reasons. But along the way I started to notice that posts that were useful for the one blog also could serve for the other. Because thinking about the position of new media today in relation to the museum deals very much with the situatedness of a form of literacy (new media & art) in a specific institutionalised discourse community (the museum). So besides the general and specific focus of my phd research this blog will also keep paying attention to (the) museum and (new) media.

Kris Rutten


2009-11-04 20:58:00

The Economics of Attention

Richard Lanham’s ‘The Economics of Attention – Style and Substance in the Age of Information’ (2006) is indeed very worthwhile to be brought under attention. I concur with the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s review: “Head-smackingly insightful” The gist: “If economics is about the allocation of resources, then (...)

2009-10-30 08:29:07

Why Narrative?

According to Jerome Bruner: “Living in a culture requires not only knowing what’s conventionally expected, but having some sense of the unexpected troubles that the conventional can produce. And now at last can we come to the functions of narrative, and why it is in effect universal. It is (...)

2009-10-23 10:57:57

Literature as moral fiber

Reading about the functions of literature, I stumbled upon the following quote: “Perhaps the guerrilla promoters of literacy who offer a shag to anyone spotted reading a novel are on the right track. Novels, surely, can still be sexy, time wasting, and subversive—or do they have to be vitamin- (...)

2008-03-06 10:19:41

Telling Stories

Telling Stories: Building bridges among Language, Narrative, Identity, Interaction, Society and Culture. Narratives have been studied in many different disciplines: linguistics, literary theory, clinical psychology, cognitive and developmental psychology, folklore, anthropology, sociology and (...)

2007-06-12 08:54:00


Filosoof Richard Rorty overleden De Standaard: De Amerikaanse filosoof en cultuurwetenschapper Richard Rorty is vrijdag in Palo Alto (Californië) op 75-jarige leeftijd na een slepende ziekte overleden. Dit heeft de Universiteit van Stanford maandag op haar internetsite gemeld. Rorty gold als een (...)

2007-04-26 10:14:32

Cyborgs – interactive or indifferent kinds

On this blog I already mentioned Ian Hackings groundbreaking work “The Social Construction of What?” His central argument is that much of the work that has been done to ‘unmask’ certain phenomena as constructions often starts from the idea that these constructions are ‘false’ or in any case a ‘bad (...)

2007-04-23 21:38:03

Performative turn

The last edition of the Dutch Electronic Art Festival was organised around the theme of interactivity. Interact or Die! focused on interactivity in general (“Interaction not as a deformation of existing forms, but rather an addition of information, an informing, a formation of forms”) and the (...)

2007-04-22 17:48:40


“The 16th -century humanists were the founders of the modern Humanities just as surely as the 17th -century natural philosophers were founders of modern Science and Philosophy: for instance, the ways of describing human cultures implicit in Book VI of Aristotle’s Ethics, and reintroduced in our (...)

2007-01-25 16:31:07

Fictions, diffractions and deconstructions

In his phd thesis (Intertextual turns in curriculum inquiry: fictions, diffractions and deconstructions) Patrick Gough explores a “methodology for curriculum inquiry” focussing on the “generativity of fiction in reading, writing and representing curriculum problems and issues”. In his introductory (...)

2007-01-14 20:38:31

Webs of Significance

“We are animals ‘suspended in the webs of significance’ we ourselves have spun. Culture is that web. So: the analysis of it is therefore to be not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning” (Clifford Geertz 1973: (...)