Article published in:Singing, Speaking and Writing Politics: South African political discourses
Edited by Mirjana N. Dedaić
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 65] 2015
► pp. 43–66
Black-boxing and the politics of parliamentary oversight in South Africa
We investigate a parliamentary committee meeting overseeing a state-owned entity, in order to track the processes of knowledge production that occur in parliamentary oversight. The entity’s representatives use “epistemological condensation” (Maton 2014: 130) to present the information they give to the members of parliament as incontestable, effectively “black-boxing” it. “Black-boxing” (Latour 1987: 2) is a process which presents knowledge in such a way that little room is left for questioning it. The committee members also use “epistemological rarefaction” (Maton 2014: 130) to open the black box of the presentation and question its contents, challenging the entity’s practices. This has theoretical implications for building a model of the role of discourse in knowledge production, and practical applications for the strengthening of parliamentary oversight.
Keywords: appraisal, black-boxing, epistemological condensation, epistemological rarefaction, Interactional Sociolinguistics, Legitimation Code Theory, parliamentary oversight, recontextualisation, semantic density
Published online: 30 October 2015
Cited by 1 other publications
Siebörger, Ian & Ralph Adendorff
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