Extending Identity and Engaging Mainstream Ideology via the Web
Producing Knowledge to Reduce Rhetorical Distance: Extending Identity and Engaging Mainstream Ideology via the Web Constance Kampf, Department of Research Knowledge Communication, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark McLuhan describes technologies as extensions -the wheel being an extension of the foot, the radio an extension of the ear, the television an extension of the eye. From this perspective, exploring the internet as an extension of identity produces fruitful questions about the role of on-line writing in Web presences. The Web changes writing as a knowledge-making practice by offering writers a larger public forum into which they can extend their identity. When the identity being extended represents a minority group, the web offers an opportunity for members of that group to engage mainstream ideology and work at reducing the rhetorical distance between their identity and mainstream perceptions. This paper theorizes about ways in which the Internet can change the act of producing knowledge through the characteristics of speed and reach, allowing minorities to access a widespread audience much more easily than before the Internet. Access to a widespread audience, in turn, offers the opportunity for engaging mainstream ideologies in order to reduce the rhetorical distance between minority and majority cultures.