Huiling Ding

Rhetoric of a global epidemic: Intercultural and intracultural professional communication about SARS

Huiling Ding

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2007 pp: 213
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Committee Members: Blakesley, David; Rickert, Thomas; Salvo, Michael
  • Source: DAI-A 68/12, Jun 2008
  • Keywords:: Intercultural communication, Rhetoric, SARS, Genre tracing, Alternative media, Risk communication, Severe acute respiratory syndrome, Global epidemic, Professional communication
  • Subjects: Rhetoric, Composition, Epidemiology
  • ProQuest Document Number: 1445049901
  • UMI Number: AAT 3291232

abstract:

    • This dissertation investigates the intercultural and intracultural professional communication about SARS in the U.S., China, and the World Health Organization and the rhetoric of the global epidemic of SARS through four case studies. Applying Foucault’s genealogical method, Sullivan and Porter’s postmodern critical research methodology, and Taylor’s complexity theory, this project interrogates the way cultures interpret and discuss global epidemics and the intricate interrelations of culture, power, knowledge, and rhetoric as reflected in the intercultural and intracultural communication about such events. Two research methodologies are proposed to study intercultural professional communication from different approaches. The critical contextualized methodology examines the full range of forces at work in intercultural communication through its six heuristic tools of key players, time-space axes, tipping points, power/knowledge relations, interactional analysis, and contexts. The genre tracing methodology investigates the flow, transformation, adaptation, localization, and interaction of genres across institutions and cultures through the use of three heuristic tools of genre networks, genre internetworks, and interactional analysis.
    • Four case studies are conducted to examine the intercultural and intracultural communication about SARS. The first case study employs the critical contextualized methodology to investigate the intercultural rhetorics employed by the U.S., China, and the WHO to interpret and construct the global epidemic of SARS. It highlights the way the medical epidemic of SARS was transformed into respectively an epidemic of ideology, that of infrastructural backwardness, and that of technological inadequacy because of cultural, political, ideological, and economic interests. The second case study traces the way similar genres such as SARS updates and travel alerts were adapted, transformed, and localized in different cultures and institutions as rhetorical responses to local exigencies and needs. In the third case study, I examine how risk communication about SARS operated in mainstream media and governmental discourses and propose a critical contextualized approach to understand the way risk communication operates in non- Western cultures with vastly different cultural, political, social, and economic conditions and call attention. The last case study analyzes the role alternative media played in producing informal participatory risk communication through the use of rhetoric of proclamation and rhetoric of personal narratives. It calls attention to the cultural and geographical contingencies of alternative media and the need to examine unique cultural contexts, media structures, and communicative practices to understand how risk communication operates differently in different cultures.
    • My dissertation explores the way various cultures make sense of and communicate and negotiate about new emerging global epidemics, the way knowledge production and legitimization operates about such global epidemics, and possible ways to improve the intercultural and intracultural communication about negotiation processes about the epidemics. It contributes to intercultural professional communication, risk communication, public health communication, and medical rhetoric by offering new and critical approaches to study intercultural and intracultural communication about global epidemics and other global crises.