Normalizing Nature: Construction and Defense of Authorized Rhetoric in Environmental Policy Debates
Scientific communication, as argued by Bruno Latour, not only asserts ‘facts’ but also defends progressive ideology by reinforcing a given epistemology. Under this critique, the scientist becomes not a finder of facts but a dictator of normative behavior in policy communication. My paper examines the way scientists create and communicate their findings with an emphasis on how normative scientific behavior gives and takes agency from natural, non-conscious entities and phenomenon in order to redistribute and reify power structures. To show this, I examine the debate over the United States Forest Service’s management plan after Oregon’s 2002 Biscuit Fire.