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Post-Process Theory

Post-Process Theory

Beyond the Writing-Process Paradigm

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Edited by Thomas Kent


NLEB (Other formats: Paperback)
256 pages, 6 x 9


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About the Book

Breaking with the still-dominant process tradition in composition studies, post-process theory—or at least the different incarnations of post-process theory discussed by the contributors represented in this collection of original essays—endorses the fundamental idea that no codifiable or generalizable writing process exists or could exist. Post-process theorists hold that the practice of writing cannot be captured by a generalized process or a "big" theory.

Most post-process theorists hold three assumptions about the act of writing: writing is public; writing is interpretive; and writing is situated. The first assumption is the commonsensical claim that writing constitutes a public interchange. By "interpretive act," post-process theorists generally mean something as broad as "making sense of" and not exclusively the ability to move from one code to another. To interpret means more than merely to paraphrase; it means to enter into a relationship of understanding with other language users. And finally, because writing is a public act that requires interpretive interaction with others, writers always write from some position or some place. Writers are never nowhere; they are "situated."

Leading theorists and widely published scholars in the field, contributors are Nancy Blyler, John Clifford, Barbara Couture, Nancy C. DeJoy, Sidney I. Dobrin, Elizabeth Ervin, Helen Ewald, David Foster, Debra Journet, Thomas Kent, Gary A. Olson, Joseph Petraglia, George Pullman, David Russell, and John Schilb.


Thomas Kent teaches rhetorical and literary theory in the Department of English at Iowa State University. He is the author of Paralogic Rhetoric: A Theory of Communicative Interaction and Interpretation and Genre: The Role of Generic Perception in the Study of Narrative Texts.


"[This anthology] offers a complex and multivalent theoretical account of the term post-process, one that includes historical and institutional, as well as linguistically, psychologically, and philosophically warranted definitions of the term. The several authors, moreover, seek to define and explain this term by describing its uses within a community of informed and reflective practitioners and suggesting ways of extending and criticizing those uses."—Patricia Harkin, coeditor of Contending with Words: Composition and Rhetoric in a Postmodern Age