Sex! Aliens! Harvard? Rhetorical boundary-work in the media (a case study of the role of journalists in the social construction of scientific authority)

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dc.contributor.advisor Stocking, S. Holly en_US
dc.contributor.author Billings, Linda en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2010-05-24T15:10:10Z
dc.date.available 2027-01-24T16:10:11Z
dc.date.available 2010-05-30T16:06:48Z
dc.date.issued 2010-05-24T15:10:10Z
dc.date.submitted 2005 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2022/7093
dc.description Thesis (PhD) - Indiana University, Journalism, 2005 en_US
dc.description.abstract With science and the media playing prominent roles in contemporary life, it is important to understand the cultural authority of science and the role of the media in maintaining this authority. This paper will report on a case study of journalists' participation in the social construction of scientific authority. The case involves print media coverage of controversial scientific research conducted by a tenured professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a well-known authority in his field. When this elite scientist embarked upon the study of people who believe they have been abducted by aliens he drew fire for stepping outside the boundaries of "real" science, despite his stellar credentials and long history of accomplishment. Much of this fire took place on the field of the mass media. The boundaries of science and scientific authority were tested in this case, and journalists played a role in the boundary-work. Employing the sensitizing concept of boundary-work to guide analysis of media content, this case study explores how journalists constructed scientific authority in their coverage of Mack's abduction research, and to what ends, and how scientific and journalistic norms operate in media coverage of science. Rhetoric is a primary tool for constructing social reality, and the rhetoric of science is a key source -- for the purposes of this study, arguably the sole source -- of the cultural authority of science. Burke's dramatistic criticism is thus employed as a primary analytic tool in this study, to excavate the landscape of symbolic communication. The aim of this study is to illuminate ambiguity, complexity, motives and meanings in this case. It is intended to be thought provoking, instructive, and productive, to enrich the ongoing examination of the cultural roles of science and journalism. en_US
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.publisher [Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University en_US
dc.subject social studies of science en_US
dc.subject mass communication en_US
dc.subject science communication en_US
dc.subject journalism en_US
dc.subject boundary-work en_US
dc.subject rhetorical analysis en_US
dc.subject.classification Mass Communications en_US
dc.title Sex! Aliens! Harvard? Rhetorical boundary-work in the media (a case study of the role of journalists in the social construction of scientific authority) en_US
dc.type Doctoral Dissertation en_US

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