The Great Chain of Being: Manifesto on the Problem of Agency in Science Communication

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rhetorical agency, rhetoric of science, science communication, automation, biopolitics, publics theory, risk

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This manifesto presents positions arrived at after a day-long symposium on agency in science communication at the National Communication Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, NV, November 18, 2015. During morning sessions, participants in the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine preconference presented individual research on agency in response to a call to articulate key problems that must be solved in the next five years to better understand and support rhetorical agency in massively automated and mediated science communication situations in a world-risk context. In the afternoon, participants convened in discussion groups around four topoi that emerged from the morning’s presentations: automation, biopolitics, publics, and risk. Groups were tasked with answering three questions about their assigned topos: What are the critical controversies surrounding it? What are its pivotal rhetorical and technical terms? And what scholarly questions must be addressed in the next five years to yield a just and effective discourse in this area? Groups also assembled capsule bibliographies of sources core to their topos. At the end of the afternoon, Carolyn R. Miller presented a reply to the groups’ work; that reply serves as the headnote to this manifesto.


Full author list:

  • Carolyn R. Miller, North Carolina State University, Raleigh emerita

  • Lynda Walsh, University of Nevada, Reno

  • James Wynn, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

  • Ashley Rose Kelly, University of Waterloo, Ontario

  • Kenneth C. Walker, University of Arizona, Tucson

  • William J. White, Pennsylvania State University, Altoona

  • Emily Winderman, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Contributing Authors: Oren Abeles, Nathan H. Bedsole, Maryn Belling, Matthew P. Brigham, Danny Card, Danielle DeVasto, Jean Goodwin, S. Scott Graham, Chris Ingraham, Molly Hartzog, Chad Iwertz, Meredith Johnson, Nathan Johnson, Sean Kamperman, Molly Kessler, Candice Lanius, Zoltan Majdik, Jennifer Malkowski, Sara Parks, Alex C. Parrish, Pamela Pietrucci, Aimée Kendall Roundtree, Dawn Shepherd, Karen Taylor, Bonnie Tucker, Ron Von Burg, Greg Wilson

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Poroi, v. 12, issue 1, p. 1-16.