Dissertation Information for Nathan R Johnson
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: How to build an infrastructure: Rhetorics of web standardization
Abstract: This dissertation explores how infrastructural standards are legitimized among information labor. It does this through textual analysis of trade journals, monographs, and websites devoted to web standardization. To aid analysis, the research develops a hybrid form of rhetorical theory informed by literature from Information Infrastuctural Studies and the Rhetoric of Science. This theory draws attention to historical, material, and tacit claims that are made in the research artifacts and theorizes the practical politics embedded within web standards discourse. The work argues that (1) Commonplaces of war and expertise work to galvanize insider and outsider groups involved with standardization. (2) The research texts often deploy these commonplaces to claim authority about "correct" standardization. (3) These same commonplaces work to elide deliberative discussions about standards at the expense of bolstering authority. (4) Deliberation can be re-engaged by rhetorics that redistribute normative discussions of what constitutes expertise regarding web standardization.
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