Special Issue 2016, 46.3, pages 269-282
Pervasive Citizenship through #SenseCommons
Abstract: This article proposes that the rise of sentient cities inaugurates an era of pervasive citizenship wherein individual citizens function as wearable devices for a collective body. To understand what rhetorical practices are available in this problematic, the article proceeds in three parts. First, it surveys how information systems help determine rhetoric through and as a kind of systems theory. Second, the article traces how technologies and techniques that form individual bodies are now emerging at larger scales and shape collective bodies. Through several examples, the article shows how these multi-partner ventures to install data collection sensors in cities are informing a new problematic that we term #SenseCommons. Third, the project offers extra-disciplinary resources for rhetorically navigating today’s increasingly pervasive information spaces. Ultimately, this article proposes that the emergence of sentient cities introduces a system of continuous rhetoric whose primary function is not to persuade but to inform.