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Judith Rich Harris: The Miss Marple of Developmental Psychology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2004

Elisabeth Wesseling
Maastricht University, The Netherlands



This paper contributes to inquiries into scientific personae by employing a rhetorical approach. It analyzes the persuasive strategies of Judith Rich Harris in The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do (1998). Rhetorical analysis of Harris' self-fashioning in this remarkable best-seller and the reactions of the press to her persona demonstrates the resilience of specific archaic cultural repertoires for constructing scientific identities. While historical studies investigate how repertoires for scientific self-fashioning evolve through time, rhetoric reveals how identity models from an earlier age may be appropriated in the present.

© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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