#NODAPL: Distributed Rhetorical Praxis at Standing Rock
2018-09-18T14:18:37Z (GMT) by
[First paragraph] Owen Flanagan (2007) argues that if the fact of consciousness is “the hard problem” of the cognitive sciences (Chalmers, 1995, 1996), then “the really hard problem” is the problem of meaning in a material world. In both the practice and the study of contemporary political activism, the hard problem is also a problem of consciousness: the raising of awareness and “social consciousness”, often in terms of social justice issues that foreground the necessarily relational nature of the world. Analogously, the really hard problem of activism is the mobilization of social consciousness in embodied and symbolic action to affect meaningful issues by generating social and political effects. This really hard problem is fundamentally a problem of rhetoric conceived not merely as instrumental production mediated by specific technologies and analyzed as such, but as embodied and distributed action that is both instrumental (as techne) and constitutive (as ethos). In this chapter, we articulate some inherent problems with current accounts of “digital activism” and “digital rhetoric” and examine one particular action by Native American Water Protectors and US military veterans during the 2016 protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), in order to better understand the conceptualization of “writing” as both practice and as digital object of analysis.