ERIC Number: ED347534
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Sense and Sensibility in Technical Documentation: How Feminist Interpretation Strategies Can Save Lives in the Nation's Mines.
Sauer, Beverly A.
This article analyzes post-accident investigation reports from a feminist perspective, showing how a feminist interpretation can change the way technical writers look at expertise and evidence. In comparing formal documentation of mine inspection reports with women's testimony about conditions in the mines, the article shows: (1) how the conventions of public discourse privilege the rational (male) objective voice and silence human suffering; (2) how the notion of expertise excludes women's experiential knowledge; (3) how the conventions of public discourse sanction the exclusion of alternate voices and thus perpetuate salient and silent power structures; and (4) how interpretation strategies which fail to consider unstated assumptions about gender, power, authority, and expertise seriously compromise the health, safety, and lives of miners and, in a broader sense, of all those who are dependent upon technology for their personal safety. Following a review of feminist text analysis, the article discusses technology and the feminist perspective, the rhetorical function of post-accident investigation reports, industry assumptions about mine safety and health, feminist analysis of the report, the impact of Mine Safety and Health Administration's rhetorical conventions on risk analysis and assessment in the nation's mines, women's narratives, sense and sensibility in technical documentation, and implications for technical writing. Fifty-nine references are attached. (Author/SR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Accident Investigation; Feminist Criticism; Public Discourse; Text Factors; Voice (Rhetoric)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).