Writing as an Embodied Practice: The Case of Engineering Standards

Christina Haas, Stephen P. Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


This article explores the role of embodied knowledge and embodied representation in the joint revision of a small section of a large technical document by personnel from two organizations: a city government and a consulting engineering firm. The article points to differences between the knowledge and the representation practices of personnel from the two organizations as manifested in their words and gestures during the revision task, and it points to the gestures of the city personnel as a principal means by which their greater embodied knowledge of channel easements becomes distributed across the group as a whole. The article concludes by pointing to some advantages of considering acts of writing as embodied practices and by indicating a number of related questions that should be pursued in subsequent investigations of literacy in modern workplaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-457
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Business and Technical Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


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