ERIC Number: ED342010
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Strange Attractors: Chaos Theory and Composition Studies.
Chaos theory provides a powerful lens for re-seeing a number of issues in composition studies ranging in scale from achieving a generative model for text production to articulating the very nature of the discipline. Chaos systems are nonlinear, have complex forms, manifest recursive symmetries between scale levels, have feedback mechanisms, and are extremely sensitive to initial conditions. Writing over computer networks is a chaotic system. The production of most texts, not only those collaboratively written, is a chaotic process. The development of individual writing abilities cannot be modeled by linear equations. The complexity of how texts constitute a discipline is well described by chaos ideas. Composition studies exhibit a fractal structure, as do chaos studies. The experience of entering the field of composition studies, trying to grasp its various elements, parallels the transition to turbulence. The consolation of chaos theory is that within the field regions of stability do exist, if only expectations of what constitutes order are shifted. (Fifteen references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Theory; Text Factors; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (81st, Seattle, WA, November 22-27, 1991).