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GRAHAM, S. Scott and HERNDL, Carl G.

Spring 2011, 41:2, pages 145 - 167

Talking Off-Label: The Role of Stasis in Transforming the Discursive Formation of Pain Science

Abstract: This article uses Foucault's enunciative analysis and stasis theory to explore the rhetorical work of the Midwest Pain Group (MPG) as its members struggle to collaborate across disciplinary difference to transform the discourse and practice of pain science. Foucault's enunciative analysis explains how discourse formations regulate statements, but not how formations can be transformed. We argue that stases can be thought of as nodes in the networks of statements Foucault describes and that stasis theory explains the rhetorical means through which members of the MPG work to transform the discourse of pain science. As the members of the MPG confront the epistemological incommensurability that exists between their individual disciplines, they establish a meta-discourse in which the definitional and jurisdictional stases help them invent a new definitional topos. We describe the way this rhetorical work occurs “off- label” in violation of the discursive restrictions of scientific disciplines, regulatory agencies, and insurance institutions.


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