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ERIC Number: EJ1003970
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
The Ethics of Clarity and/or Obscuration
Kreuter, Nate
Composition Forum, v27 Spr 2013
The essay examines the ethical tensions surrounding the common cultural and disciplinary demand that writers write "clearly." The essay seeks to advance the discipline's engagement with Linda Kintz's and Sharon Crowley's separate critiques of the "ideology of clarity," arguing that clarity potentially manipulates audiences primarily through either strategic or unintentional omissions of critical information. Deploying Kenneth Burke's notion of ingenuous and cunning identification, it advances an argument that, through persistent acts of omission, clarity can become a cunning rhetorical form, a form often set into motion by unintentionally manifested cultural pressures. The essay ends by proposing five definitions of clarity currently circulating within the discipline, before a final reflection upon the inherent tension (both stylistic and disciplinary) between clarity and obscuration. (Contains 1 table and 2 notes.)
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A