Postprint version. Published in Southern Communication Journal, Volume 76, Issue 2, April 1, 2011, pages 120-136.
Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in Southern Communication Journal.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10417941003642403.
In this essay, Joseph Barton’s controversial congressional investigation of the well-known ‘‘hockey-stick’’ study of climate change, produced by Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes, is analyzed though the critical lens of actor-network theory. Turning to the works of Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, and John Law, this essay illustrates how the hockey-stick node of this rhetorical climate change actor-network was successfully defended by invoking the entire actor-network as an inventional resource. Suggestions for improving environmental communication and the theoretical linkages between rhetorical criticism, rhetoric of science, and actor-network theory are discussed.