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Title:Rhetorical challenges: Critical studies in strategy, tactics, judgment and argument
Author(s):Chase, Kenneth Richard
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Conley, Thomas M.
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Theory and Methods
Speech Communication
Mass Communications
Abstract:In a series of essays, various approaches to rhetorical criticism are developed and illustrated. Each essay is built around a different textual artifact and each essay has an independent critical purpose. Despite this diversity, the essays work together to promote rhetorical criticism as a means of political activism; the individual exercises in rhetorical criticism serve the overarching theme that the selection of a course of political action can never be made with confidence, nor is there any rational mechanism by which we can adjudicate approaches to political action.
The chapters are divided into two broad categories: political acts and evaluative acts. In the first category, the essays are subdivided into two competing stances toward political action. One stance is best characterized by Stuart Hall's program of cultural studies, in which marxism, structuralism and semiotics are articulated into a theory of social change. The other stance is best characterized by Jean-Francois Lyotard's emphasis on immanent political action, in which social change is dissociated from the explanatory mechanisms of social theory. The tension between these two different approaches to the value of substantive social theory leads to the question of evaluation: How does one decide whether or not to pursue political action informed by the predictions of a social theory?
The essays in the second major category explore the potential for confidently answering the question of political action. These essays expose both the uncertainty of political judgment and the fragility of any argumentation used to secure that judgment. Justice and aesthetics are the key concepts which guide the analyses of the final category.
Since rhetorical criticism is the means by which the issues of political action and judgment are raised, the individual essays contribute to particular research areas aside from the overarching concern with social action. The following texts are critically examined: opinion essays on the artificial heart, Reagan's presidential addresses, two television episodes, and Jesus' use of parables.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Chase, Kenneth Richard
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9010823
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9010823

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