Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Recruitment of Skeptics via Affective Investments: Theorizing the Formation of Publics through Articulations
by Abram, Sierra, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 80; 10841351
Abstract (Summary)

Scientists and scholars should be trusted allies in the effort to shield the public from the consequences of the current post-truth existence. However, decades of declining trust in the formal institutions that verify what is 'true' has left the public particularly vulnerable to new, less vetted "truth tellers". These "truth tellers" cunningly weave their messages with existing public attitudes that "feel" right versus empirically verifiable facts and figures. The manipulation of affect has become a powerful tool in these battles for truth, especially in the arena of scientific controversies where the public has strong feelings yet minimal technical knowledge on the subject. With consideration to the role of affect in public deliberation, this project investigates the primary strategies employed in popular anti-GMO and anti-vaccine rhetorical texts with a focus on identifying their construction of 'truth'. Ultimately, I argue that these rhetorical texts employ two main strategies: 1) they exploit emotion in order to gain the audience's empathy, and 2) they induce recruitment to their cause by articulating and echoing existing political beliefs held by the public within the context of their own movement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Duerringer, Christopher
Commitee: Asenas, Jennifer, Johnson, Kevin
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 58/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Rhetoric
Keywords: Affect, GMOS, Public deliberation, Public sphere, Scientific controversies, Vaccines
Publication Number: 10841351
ISBN: 9780438276659
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