Glossary 2/6

Affordances: Wysocki actually makes a point of not defining affordances so statically (as she (foot)notes), but writes “ Such images can appear to be moments pulled out of sequential time because we can apparently see what is in the image all at once, given the angles of vision afforded by our human eyes and, importantly, given the particularly designed compositions of many such objects” (48). This gets at the capacity of this visual mode, but keeps the term located within the communication context instead of within the mode as a whole. Wysocki acknowledges that affordances have been discussed as fixed properties, but also that this is a slippery term. She writes, “I have tried with purpose in this paper to use terms like ‘constraint’ and even ‘convention’ that (I hope) are less fixed in our language practices, to hold onto the messiness of how we live with things that both resist and work with us and to hold on…” (60). [TP]

Social Practices/Contexts: Wysocki discusses how the constraints or affordances of visual compositions are located within their social or historical contexts. “[T]o ask after the constraints as we teach or compose can help us understand how material choices in producing communications articulate to social practices we may not otherwise wish to reproduce” (56). She connects the choices made within teaching and composing contexts to these broader social environments that are then reproduced within those contexts. [TP]