The transparency of codes is an illusion. No system of expression is accurate, unbiased, objective - everything comes with its unique flavor, a unique mold, a unique set of opportunities and restrictions. Just like SQL rules structure relational databases so do relational databases structure the way data is processed and presented on the Internet.
Another example of a non-transparent code is APA style. Charles Bazerman, writing for a collection of papers on the rhetoric of inquiry, presents a beautiful argument about how this works. His ideas explain a lot about the lives of wannabe psychologists (which are quite abundant in communication departments) - and about the reality of publishing and perishing. He traces the prescriptions embedded in the APA manual to the behaviorist tradition in psychology:
Instead of a reasoner about the mind, the author is a doer of experiments, maker of calculations, and presenter of results. The author does not need to reason through an intellectual or theoretical problem to justify or design an experiment, nor in most cases does he or she need to identify and take positions on arguments in literature. To produce new results, the author must identify behavior that has been inadequately described and design an experiment to exhibit it (p. 138).
With the article primarily presenting results, constrained and formatted prescription, authors become followers of rules to gain the reward of acceptance and to avoid the punishment of nonpublication (p. 139).
Finally, readers are no longer cast in the role of people trying to understand or solve some problem. Rather, they are presumed to be looking for additional bits of knowledge to fit in with their previous bits (p. 140).
Within this rhetorical world, the chaos of intellectual difference is eliminated. Individuals accumulate bits, follow rules, check each other out, and add their bits to an encyclopedia of the behavior of the subjects without subjectivity. There is not much room for thinking or venturing here, but much for behaving and adhering to prescriptions (p. 141).
Here's a reference to the source from which these came - in no other format than proper APA, of course (well, almost - I always violate APA style by listing full first names instead of initials - otherwise there is no way to convert to MLA later):
Bazerman, Charles. (1987). Codifying the social scientific style: The APA Publication Manual as a behaviorist rhetoric. In John S. Nelson, Allan Megill, & Donald N. McCloskey (Eds.), The rhetoric of the human sciences: Language and argument in scholarship and public affairs (pp. 125-144). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
Published on the old blog on June 18. 2008