Toward a civic rhetoric for technologically and scientifically complex places

Grabill, J.T., & Simmons, M. (2007). Toward a civic rhetoric for technologically and scientifically complex places: Invention, performance, and participation. College Composition and Communication, 58, 419–448.

Grabill and Simmons argue that citizens need to be provided with an opportunity to invent valued knowledge. To do so, this requires the use of technologies to assess, analyze, and then produce though what they call “professional and technical performances” for civic purposes. Scholarship, notably from Habermas and Sauer, present a number of concerns related to public participation. Policy and the manner through which its instituted can often constrain public engagement. Further, a rift between public discourse and technical decision-making also presents a constraint on pubic agency to shape policy.

These perspectives are less than helpful to Grabill and Simmons, who hope to find ways to provide citizens with more agency and have a stronger impact. Citizens, according to the authors, are enabled by performances, inquiry practices, and inventing valued knowledge through technical and professional performances in civic forums. This article is invaluable to my project because the authors are concerned, instead of documents and artifacts, with rhetorical activity and participation utilizing technological tools.