Expert in: Sociotechnical controversies
- Political controversies
- Public controversies
- Sociotechnical controversies
- Political and organizational interactions
- Constitutive approaches to communication
- Rhetorical approaches to political communication
- Theories of public space
- Political communication
My research program is aimed at achieving a better understanding of the situated rhetorical practices by which political and organizational players influence the interactions in which they take part. I study the constitutive role of language in different types of interactions and situations, such as spontaneous face-to-face interactions in the workplace, formal deliberation among citizens involved in public consultation hearings, or inter-organizational collaboration between stakeholders with divergent and often competing interests, backgrounds, and discourses. Thus, my research documents the many different ways in which rhetoric partakes in the establishment/perpetuation of relatively long-lasting social, material and political structures, such as a public sphere (Benoit-Barné, 2006, 2007), a technology (Benoit-Barné, 2007) or a relationship of authority (Benoit-Barné & Cooren, 2010).
I am particularly interested in three questions:
- the ways in which contemporary political actors debate controversies, in particular but not exclusively as part of arguments concerning science and technology;
- the role of objects in interactions, and the way in which players organize themselves and advance discussions through association with objects;
- how political and organizational players manage the tensions between the ideals driving them and the practical requirements of their activities.