Kairotically Speaking: Kairos and the Power of Identity

Kairotically Speaking


The tension experienced by tenure committees when they are confronted with unfamiliar forms of publication lies at the heart of what Kairos is—a project identity. In the Power of Identity, Manuel Castells (1997) says that a project identity occurs "when social actors, on the basis of whichever cultural materials are available to them, build a new identity that redefines their position in society and, by so doing, seek the transformation of overall social structure" (p. 8). The technorhetoricians engaged in publishing Kairos have intended to build a useful academic journal, and in doing so, they have created a project identity. A project identity, Castells says, "if it develops at all, grows from communal resistance" (p. 11).

For online publishing, this communal resistance is demonstrated in Kairos's editorial practices as compared to most scholarly, print-based (and many online) journal practices. Kairos's mission to create credible scholarly practice, to accept only native webtexts, and to practice what it preaches even in the editorial processes of the journal (i.e., it is edited entirely via digital technologies)—all the while fighting concepts of autonomy and transparency—is what successfully positions the journal. But the question remains, Michael Salvo (2002), an original staff member and now an editorial board member, says: "What contribution Kairos ultimately makes to electronic and academic publishing" depends on how "readers and future electronic writing organizations talk (or forget) about Kairos, and what future the journal creates for itself." The future it creates is not static.

If we forget about Kairos, if we accept the limitations of print and the tenure criteria on which it is based (and a whole host of other boundaries too numerous to mention), then we arguably run the risk of Kairos turning into a legitimizing identity. Such an "identity generates a civil society; that is, a set of organizations and institutions, as well as a series of structured and organized social actors, which reproduce, albeit sometimes in a conflictive manner, the identity that rationalizes the sources of structural domination" (p. 8). In other words, what tenure is to many of us now (a seemingly autonomous institution to work with and against), Kairos could become for future online scholars if we don't maintain the resistance inherent in its project identity.

If the journal is to continue succeeding, the editors need to encourage more innovation whenever they see it because many of the existing webtexts seem more like pseudo print formats than hypertextual writing.Notes7 Indeed, as Greg Siering (1998) tells us, the Kairos editors have "come under criticism at times for holding a limited view of hypertext. Some have criticized us for not being bold and experimental enough with the hypertexts we publish, claiming we are hardly going beyond the conventions of print journals." (See James Kalmbach's webtext in this issue, which discusses, in part, how Kairos has retained print-centric qualities.)


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Dismantling Kairos 1
Dismantling Kairos 2

Autonomous Technology of Tenure 1
Autonomous Technology of Tenure 2
Autonomous Technology of Tenure 3

Kairotically Speaking 1

Myth of Transparency 1
Myth of Transparency 2
Myth of Transparency 3
Myth of Transparency 4

Kairotica of Kairos 1
Kairotica of Kairos 2
Kairotica of Kairos 3
Kairotica of Kairos 4




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