Kairotically Speaking: Kairos and the Power of Identity

Kairotica of Kairos...

@What is Kairos

When talking about identity building, Manuel Castells (1997) tells us that the real issue is "how, from what, by whom, and for what" an identity came to be. He argues that "who constructs collective identity and for what [purpose] largely determines the symbolic content of this identity" including its meaning, who identifies with it, as well as those who place "themselves outside of it" (p. 7). As for Kairos's identity, we have the band Hootie and the Blowfish to thank in part, since the idea for creating this online scholarly journal began on the way to one of their concerts. In typical graduatespeak Notes9 Mick Doherty and Becky Rickly discussed what a "journal for the kind of work we're all doing would look like" (Doherty, 2001). The "we" in Becky's statement referred to a group of graduate students across the country who were seeking, as Greg Seiring (1998) said, "to create new professional spaces, practices, and forums for our technology-related work." Kairos was built by a desire "to provide a space for the kinds of research [these student-scholars were] interested in seeing done [that would] be recognized in more traditional circles" (Mick Doherty, 1999).Notes10 On the World Wide Web, Kairos found this space on a Texas Tech server. But this story tells us only about Kairos's inception. It does not tell us what Kairos is about.

And what Kairos is about, first and foremost, is connected to the ancient Greek concept of kairos. Rather than repeat the entire discussion of kairos, I will let Mick Doherty's (n.d.) Layers of Meaning article speak for me. Doherty defines kairos as the "rhetorical combination of understood context and proper timing." In the Kairos FAQ, Greg Siering says that kairos is a "combination of appropriateness and timeliness," or an "understanding of the subtleties of the rhetorical situation, particularly dealing with time." From Manuel Castells's perspective, he says identity is a "construction of meaning on the basis of a cultural attribute, or related set of cultural attributes, that is/are given priority over other sources of meaning" (p. 6). For Kairos, that meaning is most assuredly embedded in the Greek term kairos. And true to its name, Kairos was "able to seize an opportunity and launch this publication at a propitious moment in our professional history" (Siering, Kairos FAQ).

Everything about Kairos grew out of these technorhetoricians' understandings of this ancient Greek term. It is clear from various Logging On columns and the Kairos FAQ that Kairos chose the name because it represented the "radical occasionality" (Doherty, 1999) they wanted it to represent; the changing visual presentation of the journal, the fluidity offered by the Web, and the practices associated with editing online. Simply put, they like being "kairic," that is, "having the freedom to re-invent themselves based on [the] present circumstances" (Doherty, 1998). Indeed, James Inman (1999) says that part of their mission is always to be in a position where the journal (and its staff) is continually "rethinking and reinventing its ethos," or as Doherty says, "We plan to hit reload a lot." And hitting reload does not refer just to the visual changes of the journal nor the inevitable personnel changes associated with any editorial enterprise. It refers to its kairotica, what I see as its spirit and an important component in any project identity.




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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