Rhetorical Criticism and the Rhetoric of Science

Ceccarelli, Leah
June 2001
Western Journal of Communication;Summer2001, Vol. 65 Issue 3, p314
Academic Journal
Skeptics have argued that scientific texts are resistant to scrutiny by rhetorical critics because of the recalcitrance of nature, the exegetical equality of scientific communication, and the institutionally driven nature of scientific text production. This paper argues that none of these purported differences between scientific and public texts bars a rhetorical reading. But each point of contention raises a larger issue about the relationship between text and context in the broader field of rhetorical inquiry: the relationship between text and subject matter, text and audience, and text and author. This paper also addresses the concern that a rhetorical study of scientific texts (or other non-traditional artifacts) dangerously globalizes rhetorical theory.


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