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When researching this term, I learned that it has existed since the mid 16th century.

Since then,
network has come to mean many things. A common definition and the way I like to think of network is
as different moving parts that have purpose or achieve a goal. Outside of rhetoric, people use network
to describe systems, groups of people, and technology. “Assessing the Network of Agencies…” is an
article by Ruopeng et al. where they discuss the complex issue of healthy communities. As you could
imagine, there are many factors to consider when talking about the healthiness of a community. To
tackle such an issue, they analyze different agencies that would have the capacity to influence the
choices of people (like schools, food shelters, housing complexes). By inspecting these individual
entities, they were able to assess the a network between all of them and how they related to each
other. Actual network maps were drawn, and you could tell how closely the agencies were connected in
helping communities effect change (see fig 1 for example of network maps). The more loosely they are
connected, the less likely they were able to get the right resources out into their communities, and the
paper found their studied agencies were not tightly connected, giving some important insight.

Fig. 1

We also see examples of this in science. Dromard et al. use network to explore the magnitude of a
pesticide in different habitats. The study is in the French West Indies, so they studied the effect through
this continuous area that is composed of separate marine habitats that are connected in a sense. This is
different than the Ruopeng et al. article since the authors are seeing the effects of one pesticide in a
marine network. All the while, they both utilize networks to get a better grasp on their areas of study.
Inside rhetoric, network is used in instances like rhetorical ecologies and for traces. Edbauer
When talking about rhetorical ecologies, one refers to the fact that when a creator shares a message,
those who hear it then take it and share it with others. This reflects a network of a message, where it
goes, the transactions it undergoes, and the reach it has. Finding the traces of a particular work also is
related to network, because you can take a step back and see the certain influences of creative works.
In Everything is a Remix, Ferguson provided example after example of useful inventions we all use today
that built upon other inventions that came before it. It is almost impossible to think of anything in this
world that is not connected to something that came before it. Edbauer explains in her paper that
rhetoric does not stay in the room it was received, people shift the location of the message to other
places. This shift creates branches, which can be visualized like some of the networks in Fig. 1.
In my future profession, I know that I want to be on the frontlines making a difference for our
planet through sustainability. We will use the term network to see how best to effect change. Just as
the authors of the articles I mentioned honed in on specific issues, I will as well, whether it be water
usage, landfill issues, or animal conservation. My mindset has to be in a network mode to get the big
picture of the problem, while also dissecting the smaller components.

Works Cited

Dromard, Charlotte R., et al. "Different Transfer Pathways of an Organochlorine Pesticide across Marine

Tropical Food Webs Assessed with Stable Isotope Analysis." Plos ONE, vol. 13, no. 2, 2/1/2018, pp. 1-14.

EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191335.

Edbauer, Jenny. “Unframing models of public distribution: From rhetorical situation to rhetorical ecologies.”

Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 35:4, 02 Jun 2009, pp. 5-24, DOI:10.1080/02773940509391320

Ferguson, Kirby, director. Everything Is a Remix Part 3. Vimeo, 20 June 2011,

"network". Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 13 Feb. 2018. <>.

Ruopeng, An, et al. "Assessing the Network of Agencies in Local Communities That Promote Healthy Eating

and Lifestyles among Populations with Limited Resources." American Journal of Health Behavior, vol. 41, no.

2, Mar. 2017, pp. 127-138. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5993/AJHB.41.2.3.