Making Style Conscious: A Response to Paul Butler’s "Style in the Diaspora of Composition Studies"
Department of Writing and Communication
In his 2007 Rhetoric Review article "Style in the Diaspora of Composition Studies," Paul Butler explains that while style seems to have vanished from the field of rhetoric and composition since the 1980s, it has actually been appropriated by areas within our discipline including genre theory, rhetorical analysis, personal writing, and even race, class, gender, and difference studies. Using Janice Lauer's metaphor of the "diaspora" of composition studies to guide his analysis, Butler examines the ways that style, like invention, has "migrated" in the field. he claims that style is both absent and ubiquitous in our scholarship. Because "style in its dispersed form is often not called style but instead is named something else within the field," it remains central to our field although its presence is masked (5). That is, while it seems as though style is simultaneously absent and present in our discipline, the concept of style has remained present and it is the name style that is now absent. Therefore, style's place within composition studies is not paradoxical at all. "Style" appears to have gradually separated from the concept with which it was associated and has taken on other names that better fit the trends and developments of our discipline.
Vanguri, S. M. (2008). Making Style Conscious: A Response to Paul Butler’s "Style in the Diaspora of Composition Studies". Rhetoric Review, 27 (1), 87-89. https://doi.org/10.1080/07350190701738866