Affective Encounters with Tidal Livelihoods: Digital Field Rhetorics for Justice and Care


In this paper, we describe our engaged rhetorical fieldwork with clammers, whose daily work takes place in intertidal ecosystems. Growing out of a longer-term ethnographic project, clammers invited us to join them in the mud to learn more about their practice and livelihoods. Many clammers use techniques highly adapted to their surroundings, and likewise encouraged us to diversify our own techniques as we characterized these live rhetorics. In response, we continued showing up but with different tools than are typically used in qualitative research, in particular body-mounted cameras. These tools have shaped subsequent encounters with field sites and livelihoods and have made it possible for us to analyze clamming practices through digital videos. We describe our approach and how rhetorical field methods can advance both scholarship and praxis through digital field rhetoric. We conclude with reflections on how the affordances of digital rhetoric have come to matter for our research and for affective livelihoods like clamming given the pressures of accelerating environmental change that require engaged rhetorical fieldwork to continually craft intuitive, careful, and justice-oriented action.

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Taylor & Francis

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Environmental Communication

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