Writing Power

Communication in an Engineering Center

By Dorothy A. Winsor

Subjects: Technical Communication, Communication, Composition And Rhetoric Studies
Series: SUNY series, Studies in Scientific and Technical Communication
Paperback : 9780791457580, 183 pages, July 2003
Hardcover : 9780791457573, 183 pages, July 2003

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Table of contents



Vignette 1. Scenes in an Engineering Center (and Elsewhere)

Chapter 1. Using Writing to Negotiate Knowledge and Power

Vignette 2. Two Hours in an Afternoon of a Manager: Doug

Chapter 2. Managing the Organization through Powerful Texts

Vignette 3. A Meeting with Engineers: John

Chapter 3. Negotiating Knowledge Across, Down, and Up the Hierarchy

Vignette 4. Two Hours in a Technician's Afternoon: Rich

Chapter 4. Amassing Knowledge in the Hands of the More Powerful

Vignette 5. An Engineering Intern's Morning: Kevin

Chapter 5. Entering Systems of Knowledge/Power

Chapter 6. Knowledge/Power/Texts in an Engineering Center




Adds to our understanding of the powerful nature of texts and writing.


Winner of the 2004 Distinguished Publication on Business Communication presented by the Association of Business Communication

Writing Power examines the way that texts, knowledge, and hierarchy generate and support one another within a for-profit corporation. By encouraging us to see texts and writing as powerful operators in the corporate world, this book presents a case study focused on how one engineering organization uses texts to create and maintain its knowledge and power structure. Based on over five years of observations, the book describes the co-generation of power/knowledge/text from several points of view, including that of managers, engineers, interns, and blue-collar workers. These groups of people use texts to build knowledge within their own areas and establish control over their work when it is passed along to the other groups. Employing Bourdieu's notion that people possess different kinds of "capital" that can be converted to one another under the right circumstances, the book demonstrates that text is one of the major ways that this conversion of capital takes place, and is thus one of the major ways that power and knowledge are generated and accumulated.

Dorothy A. Winsor is Professor of English at Iowa State University. She is the author of Writing Like an Engineer: A Rhetorical Education.