Rhetorical spacemaking and inventive ecologies

Gianfagna, Megan Leigh
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Joining a vibrant conversation on spatial rhetorics, this project proposes a framework for rhetorical engagement with space that foregrounds spatial production as rhetorical action. Specifically, it develops a matrix that puts Henri Lefebvre’s famous triad of spatial registers—perceived, conceived and lived space—in conversation with geographer Colin McFarlane’s triad of translation, coordination, and dwelling in order to locate the specific ways that human and nonhuman inhabitants are bound up in the rhetorical production of space through their affective, material, and symbolic relations to it. Each chapter focuses on how one element of Lefebvre’s triad comes to life in the ongoing public placemaking efforts in Austin, Texas, and then traces out the more granular rhetorical activities contributing to the production of the city using the categories offered by McFarlane’s triad. Ultimately this exploration reveals the particular ways that space is produced and transformed into place via ongoing invention within ecologies of generative rhetorical relations. It moves toward a rhetorical ethic of space that frames spatial production as a both a responsibility for caretaking and opportunity for embracing new modes of being, practices of intervention, and ways of representing the places we live.