Rhetorical agency, resistance, and the disciplinary rhetorics of breastfeeding

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Drawing on interviews from a qualitative study, this article extends theorizing about rhetorical agency and resistance by analyzing how breastfeeding advocates and their clients resist medical regulatory rhetoric. The resistant acts that interviewees describe begin with a negotiation of discursive alternatives and subject positions framed by the grid of disciplinary rhetoric about breastfeeding. But in some acts of resistance, breastfeeding women use both discursive and bodily actions to disrupt the intelligibility of this grid and what it deems possible. When such disruption occurs, the results are unpredictable and so must be understood as more than the occupation of preexisting subject positions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
JournalTechnical Communication Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


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