ERIC Number: ED371402
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Dec
Post-Modernism as the Resurgence of Humanism in Technical Communication.
Dombrowski, P. M.
Scholars, teachers, and practitioners of technical communication are empowered by developments in postmodernism, especially in the face of the historical privileging of the generators of specialized knowledge. Developments in four areas--the rhetoric of science, social constructionism, feminist critiques of science, and ethics--are of a humanistic nature and at the same time of a postmodernistic nature. Major works in the rhetoric of science show that science is only a special form of negotiated opinion, not the antithesis of opinion. Social constructionism duplicates the basic thrust of the rhetoric of science. The most important impact of feminism on technical communication comes through feminist critiques of science which challenge the privilege historically accorded scientific knowledge and question the assumptions underlying the authority of science. Both feminist and ethicist critiques compel the conscientious reappraisal of what exactly science is, of how the principles of science mesh with the practice, and of how science historically both shapes and is shaped by society. All four ideas resonate with the ideas of the co-fathers of humanism, Protagoras and Socrates. Postmodernism empowers scholars, teachers, and practitioners of technical communication to criticize the authority, assumptions, and claims of science and technology while it compels them to contextualize their practice. It also alerts them to be wary against using science and technology as a subterfuge from the messiness of social contingency and the weightiness of ethical judgments. (Contains 29 notes.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A