Invitational Rhetoric in Epistemic Practice Invitational Knowledge in Infertility Support Groups

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Caitlyn M. Jarvis


Over the last several decades there have been rapid advancements in treatment options available for infertility. Consequently, infertility has become a medicalized disease, which privileges a masculine epistemology. Problematically, this masculinist perception of infertility diminishes concern for the lived experiences of women living with infertility and ignores the many ways in which infertility manifests as a social condition. This study examines narratives of women diagnosed with infertility, gathered from online support groups. Through these narratives I introduces the concept of “invitational knowledge” as a means to understand how knowledge functions rhetorically to create space for discourses that deviate from the medicalized assumptions of infertility. Invitational knowledge highlights the epistemological roots of invitational rhetoric through adoption of a postmodern feminist epistemology and is characterized by five features: 1) rhetor agency; 2) emotional knowledge; 3) transformative discourse; 4) shared knowledge; and 5) asking questions rather than making judgments.


Article Details

Research Articles
Author Biography

Caitlyn M. Jarvis, Purdue University

Caitlyn M. Jarvis (M.A., Colorado State University) is a doctoral candidate with the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Caitlyn is a qualitative and computational researcher; her research interests include exploring the relationship between resilience, identities/identification, embodiment, and organizing both online and offline.


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