Graham & Lindeman and Grossberg on the social implications of the sciences

Rhetoricians of science, like Graham & Lindeman, who ask research questions such as “How are scientific reports used to establish public policy?; “How do those reports implicate larger political and cultural systems?”; “How are the social implications of scientific discourse especially profound today?”; “How has the extension of scientific activity beyond traditional research locations implicated ‘science’?” are, most definitely, reflective of social sciences’ concerns, especially in terms of the ways in which they allude to the ways in which knowledge is used to exert authority, to draw boundaries, to prove “expertise.”

Given these research questions, Graham & Lindeman’s primary purpose is to construct meaning, to tell a story, concerning the two versions of an environmental organization’s service report, first by tracing the rhetorical context of the two versions, examining central rhetorical features, and the way information is controlled, discussing the work of science and scientists and evaluating the problematic nature of the rhetorical moves used in each version and then, ultimately, suggesting ways to interrogate public policy discourse (425). Therefore, in response to Grossberg’s question as to how “… one does research under the sign of [science] cultural studies? What is its analytic practice? I’d agree that the question has to be responsible to the messy and complex political realities of the world – and, most importantly, that it is – and must be –answerable. The answers, as in Graham & Lindeman’s case, are contextually bound, yet not devalued in their specificity, because “… if cultural studies responds to conjunctures, they must be understood as posing their own specific questions and demands” (Grossberg 48) …


About klangbehn

Doctoral Candidate: Rhetoric of Science University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue Tampa, FL 33620-5550 View all posts by klangbehn

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