Shaping Contexts and Developing Invitational Ethos in Response to Medical Authority An Interview Study of Women Down Syndrome Advocates

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Amy R Reed
Stephanie Meredith


In this article, we argue that Down syndrome (DS) advocates seeking to intervene in medical exigences are poorly positioned by their audiences of patients and physicians. To combat this problem, we find that some advocates, specifically mothers of children with DS, recuperate their ethos through two primary rhetorical strategies: shaping contexts and developing invitational ethos. Advocates are able to more freely draw from maternal authority when they shape the contexts of their messages, creating new venues and limiting their audiences. On the other hand, advocates can also appease medical authority by developing an invitational ethos in which they create the conditions for their own participation and offer their own perspectives. Through the use of these two strategies, advocates are able to claim their positions as mothers, while still cultivating positive ethos.

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Research Articles
Author Biographies

Amy R Reed, Rowan University

Amy Reed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing Arts at Rowan University.

Stephanie Meredith, University of Kentucky

Medical Outreach Director, Human Development Institute


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