Karen Sue Fish Griggs

Audience complexities in administrative law: An historical case study of an environmental policy

Karen Sue Fish Griggs

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1994; pp: 343
  • Advisor: Porter, James E.
  • Source: DAI-A 55/12, p. 3984, Jun 1995
  • Subjects: Political Science, Public Administration (0617); Law (0398); Language, General (0679)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN:
  • UMI Number: AAT 9512979

Abstract:

    This study of non-academic writing of an environmental public policy examines the rhetoric of public sector communications to show how a state water quality standards administrative law was a social construction. Two aspects of social construction focus the study: (1) discourse community and audience theory and (2) collaboration. Although rhetoric and composition research into business, government, legal and non-profit organizational writing has described certain business and technical writing practices and situations, no scholars in rhetoric and composition, especially those specializing in professional writing, have investigated how public sector writing of administrative laws takes place. In this case study, the water quality standards law was collaboratively written by members of a legal discourse community over two cycles of writing. Writing was done by government employees and lay members of the audience and Water Pollution Control Board members. The historical case study was conducted using a special unit of analysis, the social marker, to identify social interactions in an archive created for the purpose of the study. Conclusions about discourse community and audience are: (1) The Complex Audience in this case study was large, heterogeneous, and multiple. (2) Writers and readers in the rulemaking reversed roles in several instances. (3) A legal discourse community produced the law. (4) The legal discourse community was text-centered, and both attorneys and non-attorneys produced the text. (5) The dynamic discourse community as it forms was glimpsed through communicative social interactions in two cycles of writing. (6) Reciprocal relations between the social and political context and the rulemaking delayed rulemaking of the water quality standards law in the public sector. Conclusions about collaboration are: (1) Collaborative writers interacted at hearings and meetings, but participation was constrained. (2) Government employees and non-employees wrote collaboratively during negotiations. (3) Statutory law required certain recursive external review cycles. (4) Collaborative conflict can be productive. (5) External review affected revisions and the rulemaking process. (6) Regulatory negotiations, one of five types of collaborative writing, took place in public policy rulemaking.