System Analysis

This assignment (minimum 800 words, posted on your website) asks you to produce an analysis that draws on concepts we have discussed and texts we have read in our Procedural Rhetoric unit and apply them to a procedural artifact – that is, anything that can be defined as a system: a game, a social media platform, or any other computer program; a conceptual system (a philosophy, religion, political party, educational system, your major, a specific class); an organization or institution (Bonaventure, the postal service, a corporation); or a mechanical system (a car, a computer, or other technology). Your analysis should address one of the following prompts or a combination of them.

  • Ian Bogost’s discussion of procedural rhetoric helps us think about how systems represent some aspect of the world and/or make an argument about how the world works, doesn’t work, or could work. Drawing on Bogost, offer an analysis of a procedural artifact that addresses how it represents or makes an argument about some aspect of the world. How does the system work? What are the rules of the system? How do these rules work to make an argument about the world or represent it in some way? How does the system embody a particular ideology? In what ways is the system effective in terms of what it achieves or how it shapes our thinking about the world? What does the system leave out, obscure, or otherwise fail to address in some way?
  • Allison Parrish helps us think about the ethics of hacking, both in terms of computer hacking and also any other way that we can modify a system. Drawing on Parrish, analyze the ethics of a specific procedural artifact using her main questions. Who gets to use this system or technology? Who is left out? How does the system facilitate or hinder access? What data and information does the system draw on? Whose labor produced this information and what biases and assumptions are built into it? And what do the data leave out? What systems of authority are enacted by the system? What kind of community does the system assume? What community does the system invite or allow for?