Evaluating the Effects of Epistemic Location in Advocatory Literary Journalism

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Morton, L. (2016). Evaluating the effects of epistemic location in advocatory literary journalism. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 17(2), 244-259. doi:10.1177/1464884914554178



This article applies Lorraine Code’s concept of ‘epistemic location’ to the practice of literary journalism, a form of narrative non-fiction or reportage. It argues that the location of the practitioner in regard to the subject and story places particular epistemic and ethical constraints on the modes of representation available to the writer. Two book-length works of literary journalism are analysed for the epistemic location of the practitioners outside the text, compared with rhetorical impact of narration within the text. The discussion concludes that choices made regarding the mode of representation can be detrimental to the author’s purpose for the narrative, and that disclosure transparency is important – but not vital – epistemic defence for literary journalism.


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