Archival Science

, 8:199 | Cite as

Technical documents as rhetorical agency

  • Nathan Riley JohnsonEmail author
Original Paper


This research argues that documents can become intermediaries which affect the relationships between disparate groups. Through a critical analysis of materials distributed during an online protest, the author traces the life of a single technical document, simultaneously describing how it was described during deliberation between several groups. Marcusean critical theory and rhetorical criticism framed the analysis. It is suggested that certain documents act as a locus between otherwise unaffiliated groups and that those documents become agents who can mediate deliberation. Further, it is suggested that document analysis can become an important aspect for interpreting group relationships. Future research examining the agency of documents is suggested.


Document Rhetoric Critical analysis Protest Social movements 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin—MadisonMadisonUSA

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