Spurious Coin: A History of Science, Management, and Technical Writing

Spurious Coin: A History of Science, Management, and Technical Writing

by Bernadette Longo
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791445569

ISBN-13: 9780791445563

Pub. Date: 05/28/2000

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Offers a narrative history of technical writing as a cultural practice and the system of scientific knowledge it controls.

Spurious Coin constructs a cultural history of technical writing in the United States and the system of scientific knowledge and power it controls. Embedded in this history are tensions between scientific and liberal arts

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Overview

Offers a narrative history of technical writing as a cultural practice and the system of scientific knowledge it controls.

Spurious Coin constructs a cultural history of technical writing in the United States and the system of scientific knowledge and power it controls. Embedded in this history are tensions between scientific and liberal arts knowledge-making that render technical writing both the genuine and counterfeit coin of scientific knowledge within our culture. When scientific knowledge is made by scientists and engineers, it can circulate as genuine currency in an economy where communication makes knowledge. When scientific knowledge is made by liberal-arts trained technical writers, however, it circulates as spurious currency and threatens the purity of the knowledge economy. Because the stability of the scientific knowledge economy is at stake, scientists and technical writers often find themselves at odds over the value of scientific knowledge minted by non-scientists.

Longo constructs this cultural history around a framework of five intellectual trends: the use of clear, correct English; maximum efficiency of production and operation; the need to contribute to a general fund of scientific knowledge for the betterment of the human condition; the tension between the role of science and art within a culture; and a redemptive urge to purify language and standardize practice. She also explores the role of mechanical engineers in designing management systems which rely on technical writing to control operations and profits.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791445563
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
05/28/2000
Series:
SUNY series, Studies in Scientific and Technical Communication Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
222
Sales rank:
1,283,923
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction—Transforming Language into Science

What Is Science? What Is Technology?
Minting the Coin of Scientific Knowledge

Chapter 1—How Credit for Scientific Knowledge Is Appraised

Who Gets Credit?
What Research Does Not See
Looking at Technical Writing Through a Cultural Study Frame
Putting Technical Writing Practices in Cultural Contexts
Issues in Technical Writing Raised Through Cultural Study

Chapter 2—Technical Writing as the Lingua Franca in a Golden Age of Engineering

What Kind of Knowledge Gets Deposited in Textbooks?
The Utility of Experiential Knowledge
The Development of Public Science
Reforming Scholasticism

Chapter 3—The Rise of Experiential Knowledge and Technical Education

John Locke, Language, Property Rights, and Coinage
Defending Science and Technical Education

Chapter 4—Contributing to a General Fund of Scientific Knowledge

Knowledge in Textbooks
Technical Writing Practices in Power and Knowledge Systems

Chapter 5—Engineering Specialized Social Organizations

Engineering as an Application of Pure Scientific Knowledge
Designing Systematic Administration for Canals and Railroads
Engineers Become Managers in Complex Social Organizations
Engineering Management Systems

Chapter 6—Technical Writing as Management System Control

Natural and Military Efficiency
New Communication Technologies Support Systematized Management
Technical Writing Textbook Codifies Systematized Management

Chapter 7—Technical Writers Mint Counterfeit Scientific Knowledge: Strained Relations between Technical Writers and Engineers

Office Management Becomes a Specialized Field
The Practicality of Engineering in Tension with the Enjoyment of Literature
Technical Writing Moves from Engineering to English
English Embraces Science

Chapter 8—Whose Knowledge Is Powerful?

Toward a Humanistic Technical Writing

Notes

References

Index

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