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The Scientific Frontier within Presidential Appeals to Science

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abstract
Within presidential appeals to scientific advancement, we can better see how presidents marshal the ethos of science to advance an agenda as reasonable and objective. The presidents also draw upon a trope that Ceccarelli (2011) identifies as central to inspirational scientific rhetoric: the frontier. This research reveals an ongoing narrative of how a particular rhetorical strategy can endure multiple decades and accompany scientific controversies. The use of the scientific frontier appeals to Americans’ desire for: fulfilling their identity as patriotic individuals, who compete, are brave, and sensible to ensure their actions incite profitable returns. Based on understanding the frontier of science rhetoric as a set of four interrelated tenets, I argue they work together to mobilize the public. Through applying the lens of the frontier to presidential discourse about topics of scientific nature – from stem cells to space exploration – I reveal how the discourse works to shape science and frame political agendas within the remarks as worthy of public support. This research explores the role of the frontier myth and presidential rhetoric about topics of science to establish a new understanding of frontier of science rhetoric: how it works to persuade citizens of the values of science, despite the obstacles the pursuit of science poses – as the public would deem ethical or otherwise.
subject
frontier rhetoric
political discourse
presidential rhetoric
rhetoric of science
space exploration
stem cell research
contributor
Rainko, Ashleigh Kathleen (author)
Louden, Allan D (committee chair)
Von Burg, Ron (committee member)
Ceccarelli, Leah (committee member)
date
2015-06-23T08:35:51Z (accessioned)
2015-06-23T08:35:51Z (available)
2015 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/57140 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
The Scientific Frontier within Presidential Appeals to Science
type
Thesis

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