ERIC Number: ED374455
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Looking for "Resistance" in All the Wrong Places.
Herndl, Carl G.
Recent rhetorical research in professional writing raises the issue of the absence of discussion of "resistance" in professional and nonacademic writing research. A study of a biologist working at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico suggests that ideological "resistance" occurs even in the realm of technical writing. Further, it confirms what several theorists have argued, namely, that people reappropriate the dominant culture in producing their own alternative cultural expressions. Michel De Certeau argues that because studies in culture and institutional practices have focused on repressive apparatuses, they overlook, or rather they have made invisible, the heterogeneous practices that resist dominant cultures. Agents resist by using the products of the dominant discourse to insinuate heterogeneous positions and values into discourse. In the case of the biologist, she had to frame her observations about how missile tests could affect the environment around two restrictions: (1) the objective ethos, which requires that all data be quantifiable and presentable in the form of bulleted items; and (2) the rule against "intangibles," aesthetic or spiritual observations that are not reducible to technical terms. She resists by occasionally refusing to comply with expectations, but more often she writes the document as she is asked to do but then attaches to it another one worded so as to further her own concerns. Alternatively, she will talk directly and personally to project managers who she senses might be sympathetic to her ecological concerns. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A