In her Essay, “Unframing Models of Public Distribution:From Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies,” Jenny Rice argues that looking at rhetorical situations through outdated and static frameworks has caused static and outdated ways of thinking; instead of simply searching for a singular root of a situation, we should view rhetorical situations in a dynamic way, in which we look at it from an ecological standpoint. Edbauer believes that like in biological ecologies, everything is intertwined and interconnected. There is not a linear format in which we get from point A to point B, there is no simple correlation and causation between two entities, but rather everything is interconnected. Rhetoric should be studied in a multimodal aspect in which we can see things from different perspectives and analyze how different perspectives affect each other.
By analyzing rhetorical aspects in this situation we broaden our perspective from believing that things happen in a vacuum to being able to trace how networks affect each other and concurrently spread to their surroundings. While Edbauer knows that she is not the first to question the method, She references Smith and Lybarger who were early critics of the standard way in which people analyzed rhetorical situations, however she believes that her view is more holistic in its process. Essentially Edbauer is proposing that in a situation there is not a single exigence but rather multiple exigences and each exigence that one acknowledges allows for a fuller understanding of the situation. She draws an interesting parallel with the rhetorical situation of “Keeping Austin weird,” and while analyzing from a traditional Bitzer model will give us a valid response to the rhetorical situation of “Keeping Austin Weird” it is still lacking in its process. It leaves out the response to movement of” Keeping Austin Weird” and how both of those affected each other, it also gives no room for the evolution of Keeping Austin Weird and how the essence of what it is differs from place to place, and person to person. Essentially with Bitzers model you arrive at an answer but you lose the progressive and “so what” aspect of the analyzation.
Another important point to consider is that Edbauer believes that it is crucial to not only be able to think of a rhetorical situation from many aspect, but also to be able to compare it to a myriad of things. When analyzing a rhetorical situation Edbauer argues that it is crucial to take into consideration the history of the situation as well as the aspects that are loosely tied. Essentially we must be fully aware of our surroundings because it will allow for us to be fully aware of the situation. The “site and cities” in which we analyze rhetoric must be taken into account, for they help to identify and to situate what it is that we are looking for. The locality of the issue is what gives it its context and meaning. By deciphering the environment of our ecosystems, we are in essence looking at the situation through a new lense which allows for a broadened perspective and a holistic understanding. Edbaeur states that “particular situation, these same models can also mask the fluidity of rhetoric. Rhetorical situations involve the amalgamation and mixture of many different events and happenings that are not properly segmented into audience, text, or rhetorician(19).” In essence Edbaeur is telling us that exploration and discovery is the basis of rhetorical situations, and that by embracing that we can understand that the discovery will not lead us to a single answer; what we have to discover is that a multitude of conglomerated elements are what makes up the mystery.
The process in which we analyze rhetoric is extremely important because it shapes who we are as people. One could say that we must even rhetorically analyze the way in which we rhetorically analyze. By doing this we grow as rhetoricians and thus we start to develop a more didactic view of situations. By developing an understanding of analyzing from multiple perspectives we are able to better understand a situation, we are able to communicate better, and have a true discussion on the subject matter.