Disseminating and adapting specialized knowledge. American think tanks’ blogs


The present study aims to characterize the ways in which specialized knowledge is disseminated and adapted in the discourse of American think tanks whose specificity lies in their objective to influence public policy. It offers a comparative rhetorical analysis of an exploratory corpus composed of blog posts and their corresponding expert reports published by six think tanks between 2014 and 2017. The following hypothesis is explored: blog posts are characterized by distinctive rhetorical strategies in the discursive space of think tanks and may thus be seen as a means for these organizations to carry out their programmatic aim. Results show that the format of the genre, as evidenced by the use of journalistic techniques such as titles and hooks, is particularly tailored to meet the needs and draw the attention of a wide audience on experts’ work. An analysis of argumentative choices and hedging in the corpus further suggests that blogs may also represent a way for think tank experts to position themselves in the political arena. These overlapping communicative purposes more generally testify to the specialized nature of a new genre in think tanks’ outreach strategy.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v29p339

Keywords: blogs; think tanks; United States; programmatic aim; rhetorical strategies; genre analysis


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