Bridge to Genre: Spanning Technological Change

  • Janet Giltrow


How can new media bring out new genres? Taking a historical perspective, the author suggests that what is taken to be a new genre may in fact not be a new genre but an application of a new technology. Three phases (mid-19th-century photography; blogs; online news comment) show similar characteristics: the new technology is so widespread in its uptake that it seems to be a “mania” or “craze” beyond recognizable motivation; its uses are mixed and hard to classify; the period of unruly mixtures then gives way to orderly differentiation—to, that is, genres. These uses of new media, then, are not genres but “bridges to genre.” Such bridges are more like what Bakhtin called “primary genres” than the “secondary genres” usually recognized by rhetorical theory.


Technological Change Sentiment Analysis Conversation Analysis Online Comment Small Talk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Giltrow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouver, BCCanada

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