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Controversy and Politics Divider

Rhetoric-Common Features of a Debate

Bullet pointProponents of a Technology

  • needs
  • effectiveness
  • safety

Bullet pointOpponents of a Technology

  • question need
  • question effectiveness
  • question safety

Bullet pointEstablishment

  • discredit challengers as uninformed, misguided, lacking credibility

Bullet pointChallengers

  • represent their view as public interest ie citizens vs big business/big government

"As lines are drawn in a technical controversy and the positions become polarized, each side develops a rhetoric, an articulated ideology that is more or less shared by partisans. This rhetoric includes the individual rationales which are most popular as well as other beliefs. New recruits to each site of a controversy are socialised into those parts of its iedology which they do not hold already."

Allan Mazur

Rhetoric is also influenced by:

Bullet pointClasses of Technology
  • technologies which give people low doses of something which, in higher doses, is very toxic
  • technologies which have the potential for very low-probability but very high-consequence accidents

Bullet pointValues and Ideology

  • emphasis on environmental values
  • emphasis on economic growth and efficiency