Synopses & Reviews
Spurious Coin constructs a cultural history of technical writing in the United States and the system of scientific knowledge and power it controls. Embedded in this history are tensions between scientific and liberal arts knowledge-making that render technical writing both the genuine and counterfeit corn of scientific knowledge within our culture. When scientific knowledge is made by scientists and engineers, it can circulate as genuine currency in an economy where communication makes knowledge. When scientific knowledge is made by liberal-arts trained technical writers, however, it circulates as spurious currency and threatens the purity of the knowledge economy.
Longo constructs this cultural history around a framework of five intellectual trends: the use of clear, correct English, maximum efficiency of production and operation; the need to contribute to a general fund of scientific knowledge for the betterment of the human condition; the tension between the role of science and art within a culture; and a redemptive urge to purify language and standardize practice.