Waterlines: Confluence and Hope through Environmental Communication. The 15th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE). June 17-21, 2019, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Hopeful Communication about Citizen Science in Water Ecology: A Rhetorical Critique of “Citizenship” Language and Values

Philippa Spoel's picture
Spoel, Philippa
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Scholarly papers

Approaching citizen science discourse as a form of epideictic (or celebratory) rhetoric, in this paper I explore how citizen scientists are rhetorically constituted through public-facing communication by five Ontario-based organizations involved in various water quality monitoring initiatives. Working from the perspective that it is important to consider both the macro-level (ideo)logics that frame these initiatives as well as their situated diversity and complexity, my analysis identifies shared and distinctive value-laden characteristics of the “good” water-monitoring citizen scientist interpellated by these organizations. This analysis contributes to our understanding of the shifting and complex interaction between governing logics and contextual specificities not only in the kinds of science that citizen-science programs pursue but also of the kinds of citizens that they value and constitute—as well as the kinds of citizens that they do not.