Envisioning the Antenarrative Approach with TPC

In Disrupting the Past to Disrupt the Future: An Antenarrative of Technical Communication, authors Natasha N. Jones, Kristen R. Moore, and Rebecca Walton explore the antenarrative methodology that was introduced to technical communication to progress the TPC pedagogy by incorporating social justice education. The antenarrative is a social justice approach that works to refine communication. 

This benefits the technical and professional communication (TPC) communities by outlining the issues within the discourse such as a lack of social education that indirectly marginalize groups of people. Introducing antenarrative also expands the pedagogical practices to teach modern ethics with the hope to influence future generations. Jones, Moore, and Walton developed a rework of the narrative that technical communicators take shape in to include sensitivities towards social justice issues.  “What is needed, we argue, is an antenarrative. Part methodology and part practice, an antenarrative allows the work of the field to be reseen, forges new paths forward, and emboldens the field’s objectives to unabashedly embrace social justice and inclusivity as part of its core (rather than marginal or optional) narrative.” (212) This antenarrative rejects the traditional pedagogy in favor of one that provides more inclusion to previously marginalized people.

The authors argue that TPC scholars and practitioners should stray from the purely technical-aspect of TPC, which focus on removing humanity from the writing in favor of clear communication. The alternative they suggest is to slowly replace that supposed objectivity with the antenarrative approach. “Although TPC scholars have long been exploring issues of inclusion, the collective contribution of this work has gone largely unnoticed, (over)shadowed by the dominant narrative that technical communication is most concerned with objective, apolitical, cultural practices, theories, and pedagogies.” (212) While objective practices are important components of technical and professional writing, a more inclusive approach is beneficial to the general populace. 

Furthermore, the antenarrative is not just about redeveloping the pedagogy involving TPC, it’s about filling in the social gaps to provide more cohesive communication that ensures the narrative is complete and inclusive. “Antenarrative points to disjointed portions of a story that is still struggling to be told.” (213) This is important because when all avenues of a narrative are accounted for, and all aspects of communication are thought through, communication, by default, is more effective because it’s inclusive. Though this antenarrative method has remained in its infancy for many years due to lack of reception by the TPC community, I implore professionals to read up on this new way of communication.

Resources

Disrupting the Past to Disrupt the Future: An Antenarrative of Technical Communication, by Natasha N. Jones, Kristen R. Moore, and Rebecca Walton


Viewpoint Written by Sherralyn Robbins, University of Maine

Edited by Erica Lies, Texas State University


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