Career Discourse

In reflecting over the WideSight, I start to see themes: Words. Magic. Incantation. Space. Constellations. Places and Pattern. Maps. The Going. The Return. Shapeshifting. Crisscrossing and connecting, creating a network of opportunity for grace, for change. Kairos. The supreme moment—a time warp? Link-logic. The Rhizome.

I am fascinated with connections, associations, meetings, moments. And I realize that I have been trying to weave them together so I can make sense of them, so I can see the magic moving our lives as told through story.

DNA—discourse network analyzer—is a Java-based software for qualitative category-based content analysis. It serves two purposes: it allows the coder to code statements of actors into categories and it converts this structured data into networks that are readable by network-analytic software packages. Essentially, DNA allows the researcher to extract affiliation networks, to see the links in time and space between actors and concepts and to model how these variables interact and change over time.

Network analysis has been around for decades, but it’s a methodology largely owned by sociology. I want to bring it into rhetoric. I am using DNA and rDNA to analyze how scientists talk about new scientific knowledge, particularly when the “facts” are contentious. Discourse analysis allows the researcher to unpack the language that constructs all manner of issue and ill. It cannot yet be used predictably, but the WideSite is evidence that there is merit and need for reflection. Sometimes, it’s only by looking back that we can see the way forward.