Arts and Humanities
Brief Description: The Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK) is a landmark project by the Society of Technical Communication (STC) to establish a body of disciplinary knowledge for technical communicators. The initiative has its roots in connecting academics and practitioners and professionalizing technical communication (TC).
Purpose: This report is aimed at infrastructural inversion – a way of externalizing the architecture and organization of the TCBOK classification system. Infrastructural inversion can help us find problems that are obscured from the surface and see existing problems with clear eyes.
Method: This article focuses primarily on the practical politics, materiality and texture, indeterminacy of knowledge, and ubiquity of the controlled systems that are intrinsic in the TCBOK (Bowker and Star, 1999).
Results: The TCBOK reflects the concurrent political and ethical environment of both the society and the profession. Decisions regarding the TCBOK design and development can support communities of practice that work toward professional consciousness and the professional status of TC. The TCBOK provides a place to negotiate that professional consciousness through user-mediation.
Conclusion: The TCBOK allows the STC to govern the profession of TC. The core elements of the TCBOK, its strongest premises, validate or reject discourse through social elitism. This governing isn’t necessarily bad, but it can be dangerous. A body of knowledge without governance risks unruliness. Over-governance risks professional inequality through exclusion. Viewing the structure of a controlled system through a critical lens can identify overlooked problems, improve meta-cognition through methodology, and establish a vocabulary for critical analysis through metaphor and genre.
Master of Arts in English, Technical Communication Option
Rydholm, Anders, "Data and Metadata: Externalizing the Inner TCBOK" (2015). Technical Communication Capstone Course. 9.
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