The Struggle to Relate: Writers and Readers of Corporate and Public Documents

  • Anne Surma


This chapter explores the complexities involved in the processes of writing public and professional texts, and also examines the material, political and even emotional effects of reading them. Through an overview of the issues that have a bearing on the preparation of client-oriented documents in the corporate sector on the one hand, and of the experience of reading public- and politically-oriented documents designed for circulation in the broader culture on the other, I argue for the importance of retaining the agency of the writing—reading subject.1 I contend that this is the only reliable and viable position from which ethical relationships between writers and readers may be established and productively extended.


Indigenous People Torres Strait Islander Geothermal Energy Public Document Corporate Identity 
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  1. 7.
    Grabill and Simmons offer a detailed and persuasive account of the social construction of risk, and argue against (the artificial and reductive division of) risk assessment by ‘experts’ and its communication to a (passive, unengaged) public. In their view, risk communication, ‘rather than a linear flow of technical information from the risk assessors to the public’ becomes ‘a web, a network, an interactive process of exchanging information, opinions and values among all involved parties’ (2003, p. 368).Google Scholar

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© Anne Surma 2005

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  • Anne Surma

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