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Title:The Rhetoric of Witnessing and Heckling: A Case Study in Ethnorhetoric
Author(s):Jacobs, Curtis Scott
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:This study examines a rhetorical event that occurs between preacher Jed Smock and his student audiences. The study illustrates an ethnorhetorical approach to rhetorical criticism. A naturalistic methodology is used to capture the nature of the rhetorical transactions in situ and of the perspectives which the participants themselves bring to bear in understanding and acting within the event. These perspectives offer their occupants radically different dramatic structurings of the event. Each perspective is reflexively organized within a system of interdependencies among the perspectives. The way in which occupants of different perspectives act toward and interpret the event works to preserve the sense of objectivity each occupant assigns to the drama he finds in the event. The result is that participants orchestrate their transactions by virtue of a fundamental relativity of meanings.
The properties of this event are general features of the genre called "confrontation rhetoric." The findings of this study considerably alter traditional understandings of confrontation rhetoric. Specifically, this study confirms the view that confrontation rhetoric is dominated by consummatory motives of a fundamentally moral nature and that confrontation rhetoric occurs where common ground between the parties is dissolved.
This rhetorical event is an anomaly for the theory and practice of rhetorical criticism. The method of textual inspection and the assumption of an objective meaning in the discourse fail here. The practice of content analysis and the assumption of a referential relation between rhetoric and rhetorical situation also fail. The presumed transparency for the critic of participant understandings and the assumption that a consensus of meaning is both a precondition and a natural end of rhetoric fail as well. The methods and assumptions of an ethnorhetorical approach are required to encompass the types of events discovered in this study.
Issue Date:1982
Description:456 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8302894
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1982

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