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A Legal Discourse Community: Text Centered and Interdisciplinary in Social and Political Context

Journal of Business and Technical Communication ()


This article reviews recent studies of legal discourse and nonacademic writing and presents the results of a historical case study of an environmental public policy. The author examined the rhetoric of public sector communication to show how an Indiana water quality standards administrative law was socially constructed as it was written collaboratively in two cycles by members of a text-centered legal discourse community Key findings describe a dynamic discourse community with changing writing roles among government employees, lay members of the audience, and water pollution control board members. The social and political context surrounding this collaborative effort delayed formal adoption of the water quality standards in the public sector. Controversial provisions of the law stimulated social and political actions, including legislation, and in the process delayed rulemaking.

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