This special issue on civic engagement and technical communication focuses on the ways educators can help students become actively engaged members of society, particularly a "rhetorical democracy." The first essay examines the concept of community as a locus for civic engagement and question some of the definitions of community seen embedded in current pedagogical practices. The next article seeks to shape understanding of practice. The tension of developing students' civic awareness and engagement is the topic of the third paper. The fourth article helps students gain skills and organization awareness and improves the perceived relevance of the work. The final two essays approach the issue of civic engagement from slightly different angles--one examining the role of teacher as both rhetor and instructor and the other looking to the past for possible solutions for the future. By continuing the conversation about the relationship between technical communication and the public good and focusing specifically on pedagogical strategies and their theoretical and historical underpinnings, the authors in this special issue clarify roles that technical communication and technical communicators play in civil society, as well as ways curricula can be shaped to prepare students to fill those roles.
Volume 13, Number 3, 2004
Contents: J.M. Dubinsky, Guest Editor's Introduction. C.M. Ornatowski, L.K. Bekins, What's Civic About Technical Communication? Technical Communication and the Rhetoric of "Community." C.D. Rude, Toward an Expanded Concept of Rhetorical Delivery: The Uses of Reports in Public Policy Debates. J.B. Scott, Rearticulating Civic Engagement Through Cultural Studies and Service-Learning. D. Clark, Is Professional Writing Relevant? A Model for Action Research. M. Bowdon, Technical Communication and the Role of the Public Intellectual: A Community HIV-Prevention Case Study. M.F. Eble, L.L. Gaillet, Educating "Community Intellectuals": Rhetoric, Moral Philosophy, and Civic Engagement. REVIEWS: E. Johnson, Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement. Gerard A. Hauser and Amy Grim. A.C.K. Hea, "Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital." Robert D. Putnam and "Pedagogy and Political (Dis)Engagement." K. Edward Spiezio. N. Bacon, Service-Learning in Technical and Professional Communications. Melody Bowen and J. Blake Scott.