Henze, Brent. “Emergent Genres in Young Disciplines: The Case of Ethnological Science.”

Henze, Brent. “Emergent Genres in Young Disciplines: The Case of Ethnological Science.” Technical Communication Quarterly 13.4 (2004): 393-421. Web.

 

 


 

 

397: It is clear that durable genres shape disciplinary discourse and help to constitute
the social structures through which disciplinary activity occurs. But it is less clear
how these relationships arise early in the existence of both discipline and genre before
the weight of past activity has accumulated. Howdo a young discipline’s practitioners
come to participate in the kinds of communal discursive activity that typify
mature disciplinary discourse? From where do the rhetorical features of mature
generic discourse originate? How do the earliest adherents of a young discipline
learn to participate in the rhetorical life of the discipline in the absence of preexisting
patterns that are intrinsic to that discipline? In other words, what are the first
steps in the emergence of a new disciplinary genre?

 

398:

 

several
texts that together represent the genre’s diversity and demonstrate how the papers
function rhetorically. I consider early (volume 1) and later (volume 3) examples
to highlight some significant changes in the form, substance, and coherence
of ethnological discourse during this period. I focus on the following
characteristics of the ethnological papers:
• the appearance of a finite set of legitimate functions that could be accomplished
by the ethnological paper genre;
• the development of a repertoire of special topics appropriate for ethnological
discourse;
• the emergence of organizational schemes for presenting ethnological information;
• the incorporation of both scientific and humanitarian rhetorics drawn from
other disciplinary and organizational contexts; and
• the formulation and synthesis of new types of ethnological evidence, along
with rhetorical strategies for weighing and legitimizing evidence of different
kinds.

 

THE DISCIPLINARY GOALS OF THE ETHNOLOGICAL
SOCIETY OF LONDON

 

EARLY ETHNOLOGICAL PAPERS (1843–47): EXTANT
RHETORICAL STRATEGIES AND THE EMERGENCE OF
THE ETHNOLOGICAL RECORD

 

all of the papers treat particular human populations:

 

To demonstrate the character and range of rhetorical techniques found in the
earliest ethnological papers, I consider two early ethnological accounts: de
Bode’s paper on two Turkoman tribes and King’s three-paper account of the
Esquimaux. I suggest that the rhetorical features of these early texts constitute an
emerging genre that responds to the characteristic interests and conditions of the
newly institutionalized ethnological science, as well as to the ideological and political
frameworks from which many of the society’s members arose. Despite a
good deal of heterogeneity among these early papers, their authors use extant
strategies from other scientific and humanistic discourses to synthesize a new,
distinctly ethnological genre. (401)

 

In this context we can make sense of the apparent conflict between the justthe-
facts tendency of many ethnological papers and the routine appearance of a variety
of rhetorical techniques, including digressions, asides, polemics, critiques,
and episodes, drawn from overtly humanitarian discourses. Not only did ethnologists
draw upon humanitarian discourses to build a repertoire of rhetorical techniques
for ethnological work, but they also incorporated many of the motives of
these discourses into the new rhetorical context of ethnology. (404)

 

ETHNOLOGICAL PAPERS FROM THE EARLY 1850S:
THE GROWTH OF AN INSIDER’S DIALOGUE

 

RHETORICAL REPERTOIRES AND SOCIAL
CONFIGURATION THROUGH GENRE

 

GENRE LEARNING AND NEW DISCIPLINES

 

 

 

 

 


 

Abstract

 

 

 

Although the rhetoric of relatively stable scientific disciplines has been studied extensively,
less attention has been paid to discourse formation in young disciplines.
The author extends recent theories of genre and disciplinary discourse in a close rhetorical
analysis of early papers in ethnological science. Practitioners apply extant
rhetorical resources to new disciplinary problems as they learn to identify themselves
as participants in a collective project. The young discipline “learns” its discourse
from its practitioners.