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

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

That the written transfer of technical information plays more than a passive conduit role is the thesis powering this cultural history of US technical writing since "the Golden Age of Engineering" (1850- 1950). Heeding Kuhn's call for historians of science to construct a cultural context for explaining past practices, Longo (English, Clemson U., SC) explores tensions between scientific and liberal arts knowledge-making systems in "minting the coin of scientific knowledge" that render this currency genuine or counterfeit. She investigates technical writing as lingua franca, management system control, and as it moves toward a more humanistic form. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents


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




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