Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Style and Stance #4: My First Data Examination

My goal tonight is to examine the submission guidelines for traditional academic journals to establish their style and stance then turn to digital academic journals' guidelines to see if I can find any contrasts.  Wish me luck on this first foray!

As I review style and stance for this, I am not quite sure I have a clear line between them.  But here is what I see applying to tonight's exercise:  

"[S]tyles in speaking involve the ways speakers, as agents in social (and sociolinguistic) space, negotiate their positions and goals within a system of distinctions and possibilities" (Irvine Loc 401-402).

The world of academic writing has been clearly delineated for decades, and writers have always worked to present themselves within this set of expectations.  Are they negotiating their positions and using different styles in digital academic writing? 

"Speaker stances are thus performances through which speakers may align or disalign themselves with and/or ironize stereotypical associations with particular linguistic forms" (Jaffe 4). 

Do writers in digital spaces, through their styles as well what they write and how they write it (which is stance, and which is where I am having trouble delineating stance from style ...) intentionally try to disalign from traditional academia?

Computers and Composition:  
The Traditional Academic Journal Put Online
Content (part of Stance)
  • Four references to style guides
    • Link to a style manual for editors
    • Explanation that authors will be walked through expected style in submission process
    • Direction to reference the AP style guide
    • A separate section delineating APA guidelines
  • Submissions consistently referred to as "manuscripts"
  • Traditional parts of academic article (abstract, cover page) delineated in how to submit
  • The only specific guidelines are textual (page length, margins ...)
  • No images
  • Copyright statement is traditional form
Style (also part of Stance?)
  • Subject-verb syntax
  • Third sentence has series of four larger items that have smaller items within them for a total large and small of 10 items
  • Two-column layout of vertical text (list of links to articles in left column and guidelines in right)
  • Script font in journal title
  • Times New Roman for all other fonts
  • Overall title then sections broken by sub-headings: all explicitly stating the content to follow
  • Traditional capitalization
 Technoculture: an online journal of technology in society:  
The Digital Academic Journal
Content (part of Stance)
  • Email and PDF options provided 
  • Both critical and creative works are clearly requested (in second sentence)
  • Second paragraph explains wide variety of accepted topics
  • Web submission tool is presented as a way to communicate with the editors about how your idea will fit with the journal (not guidelines)
  • Direct disaligning with traditional academic writing: "Our intended readers are not necessarily academics. In any event, jargon and stilted language should be avoided; readers should not have to parse a sentence six times before preceding to the next sentence."
  • Specific request for digital "pieces" and for audio/video not text
  • Copyright statement is clear about open availibility of work for others' use
  • FAQ link to style guideline brings reader to open statement about MLA without link to an MLA style guide
  • Random list of style requests on the FAQ link
  • No images
Style (also part of Stance?)
  • Three-column layout with menu on left, letter to readers in middle, and FAQs on the right
  • Artistic "typewriter" font for title and Trebuchet and Verdana used in titles and text
  • First word of title capitalized then the rest lower case
  • FAQs written in second person point-of-view 
  • Main text composed as a letter versus informative article 
  • Call submissions by their genre (essay, poem, story) not manuscripts 
  • Repetition of "any" in their topic ideas creates sense of openness  
First Impressions ...
There are definite style and content differences between these two journals' submission guidelines.  I am still not completely sure that I have defined style and stance separately, as style seems to be how something is said ... and stance is what and how something is said.  So, stance = style + content?

Regardless, dichotomous categories are percolating in my mind ...
  • Digital journal: Friendly, casual, inviting, equals
  • Traditional journal: Dictating, formal, informational, hierarchy
 Do any of these words particularly grab you as most meaningful? 

Works Cited
  • Jaffe, Alexandra. Stance: Sociolinguistic Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Kindle edition. 
  • Image source
  • Irvine, Judith T. "'Style' as distinctiveness: the culture and ideology of linguistic differentiation." Ed. Penelope Eckert and John R. Rickford. Style and Sociolinguistic Variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Kindle edition. 
  • "Note to Our Authors and Readers about Technoculture." Technoculture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society. Technoculture, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012.
  • Witte, Alison. "Guidelines for Editors and Authors." Computers and Composition: An International Journal. Computers and Composition, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012.

1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting how stance can be seen through even just providing email and PDF. I wonder we can use your analysis to predict the fate of traditional journals.