Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This project examines the history of science and its relationship to the popular, or lay, audience, a problem of rhetorical inquiry since Aristotle. This project also explores the implications of the emerging trend in lay literature on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to transform the causal mechanism underlying ADHD so that it is isomorphic in structure and parallel in content to the most contemporary and fetishized sciences of the human body. In other words, how ADHD was once a problem of brain chemistry, and is now a problem of genetics is not simply a matter of scientific practice on the level of empirical data, but instead reflective of a larger societal trend in the era of rational instrumentality to reduce human behavior to the analogy of a mechanical machine. As such, by examining literature on ADHD that is designed to persuade a lay audience of the existence of ADHD, this project argues that the rhetorical dimensions of ADHD are perpetuated by a logic of a “black box,” or a type of reasoning that privileges effects over the internal operations of an organism or machine.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Joshua Gunn



Included in

Communication Commons