Group A Moves
Preparation Guide 2014
Implicating Morality and History in Rhetoric
By now you have a sense for the active creative force of text in creating the socio-cultural world
in which humans live. Discourse serves a practical role in the knitting of our day-to-day activities.
Once rhetoric is seen as a force for textual merger, then a number of questions open seeking to
understand traditional concepts and their relationship to this process. Two of those that have
been a focus of rhetorical theorists are morality and history.
In addressing the practical reasoning problem, theorists had discovered that one of the most
important advantages of rhetorical logic was its more powerful account of morality in human
action. The initial development here was the concept of an advisory rhetoric: as individuals we
use rhetoric to provide moral advice to others. But then, with the growth of the constitutive
rhetoric, attention turned to rhetorically constituting morality. The rhetorical construction of
morality became a central problem just as the rhetorical construction of reality was a problem for
the social epistemics.
Similarly, history could be seen not as a study of material events told in language, but as a
construction brought textually into rhetorically constituting the moment. But on what terms?
Clusters: Rhetoric as advisory; Rhetoric and history; Rhetoric and morality; Collective memory
Questions to stimulate thought:
- What are the definitions of and connections between history, morality, memory, and rhetoric?
- In how far have the developments in the media landscape changed our perceptions of history and memory (and archives)? In how far is this reflected in theory?
- What are the implications of morality for memory and history?
Questions by topic:
- How does Condit define morality? Are you comfortable with that definition?
- In connection to our discussion last week (think: Klumpp and Hollihan), how does this impact your perception of the scholar as a moral actor?
- History and Memory
- What is the difference between history and memory?
- Complicate “public” or “collective” memory. How do Hume and Philipps explicate the matter?
- Bellah, Robert N., et al. "Transforming American Culture." Habits of
the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley: Univ.
of California Press, 1985. 275-296.
- Clark, E. Cully, & McKerrow, Raymie. E. The rhetorical construction of history. In Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases, ed. Kathleen J.
Turner, 33-46. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
- * Condit, Celeste Michelle. "Crafting Virtue: The Rhetorical Construction
of Public Morality." Quarterly Journal of Speech 73 (February 1987):
- Cox, J. Robert. "Memory, Critical Theory, and the Argument from History." Argumentation and Advocacy 27 (Summer 1990): 1-13.
- Fisher, Walter. "Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm: The Case of
Public Moral Argument." Communication Monographs 51 (March 1984):
- * Foss, Foss, and Trapp on Weaver.
- Klumpp, James F., and Thomas A. Hollihan. "Rhetorical Criticism as
Moral Action." Quarterly Journal of Speech 75 (February 1989): 84-96.
- Weaver, Richard M. "The Cultural Role of Rhetoric." In Language is sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the nature of rhetoric. eds. Richard L. Johannesen, Ralph T. Eubanks, & Rene Strickland, 161-84. 1970; Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985.
- Weaver, Richard M. "Language is Sermonic." In Language is sermonic: Richard M. Weaver on the nature of rhetoric, eds. Richard L. Johannesen, Ralph T. Eubanks, & Rene Strickland, 201-33. 1970; Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1985.
- Zarefsky, David. The four senses of rhetoric history. In Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases ed. Kathleen J. Turner, 19-32. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
- Aden, Roger C., Min Wha Han, Stephanie Norander, Michael E. Pfahl, Timothy P.p Pollack, Jr. and Stephanie L. Young. "Re-Collection: A Proposal for Refining the Study of Collective Memory and its Places." Communication Theory (10503293) 19, no. 3 (August 2009): 311-336.
- Arnett, Ron C., "Situating a Dialogic Ethic." In The Handbook of Communication Ethics, eds. GeorgeCheney, Steve May, and Debashish Munshi, 45-63. New York: Routledge, 2011.
- Brown, Vivienne. "The Moral Self and Ethical Dialogism: Three Genres." Philosophy
and Rhetoric 28 (1995): 276-99.
- Carpenter, Ronald H. History as Rhetoric: Style, Narrative and Persuasion. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.
- Crusius, Timothy W. "A Question of Kenneth Burke's Ethics." KB Journal 3.1 (Fall 2006)
- Gehrke, Pat J. "Turning Kant Against the Priority of Autonomy: Communication
Ethics and the Duty to Community." Philosophy and Rhetoric. 35.1,
- Hicks, Darrin. “The New Citizen.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 93, no. 3 (2007): 358-360.
- * Hume, Janice. "Memory Matters: The Evolution of Scholarship in Collective Memory and Mass Communication." Review of Communication 10, no. 3 (July 2010): 181-196. (CMMC)
- Lozano-Reich, N., & Cloud, D. (2009). The uncivil tongue: Invitational rhetoric and the
problem of inequality. Western Journal of Communication, 73, 220-226.
- McDaniel, James P. "Responsibilities: Speculations on Rhetoric and the
Ethico-Political in Postmodernity." Argument and the Postmodern Challenge:
Proceedings of the Eighth SCA/AFA Conference on Argumentation, ed. Raymie
E. McKerrow, 159-61. Annandale VA: SCA, 1993.
- McGee, Michael. G. "The Fall of Wellington: A Case Study of the Relationship
between Theory, Practice, and Rhetoric in History." Quarterly Journal
of Speech 63 (1977): 28-42.
- Meyers, O. (2009). The engine’s in the front, but its heart’s in the same place: Advertising, nostalgia, and the construction of commodities as realms of memory. Journal of Popular Culture, 42(4), 733-755.
- Miller, S. (2007). Trust in texts: A different history of rhetoric (pp. 1-27). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP.
- Murray, Jeffrey W. "Bakhtinian Answerability and Levinasian Responsibility:
Forging a Fuller Dialogical Communicative Ethics." Southern Communication
Journal 65 (2000) 133-150.
- Norton, Janice. "Rhetorical Criticism as Ethical Action: Cherchez la
Femme." Southern Communication Journal 61 (Fall 1995): 29-45.
- * Phillips, Kendall R. "The Failure of Memory: Reflections on Rhetoric and Public Remembrance." Western Journal of Communication 74, no. 2 (March 2010): 208-223. (CMMC)
- Reyes, G. Mitchell, ed. Public Memory, Race, and Ethnicity. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010.
- Shotter, John., and Gergen, Kenneth. J. "Social Construction: Knowledge,
Self, Others, and Continuing the Conversation." Communication Yearbook 17 (1994).
- Spinner-Halev, J. (2008). Democracy, solidarity and post-nationalism. Political Studies, 56(3), 604-628.
- Thompson, C., & Tian, K. (2008). Reconstructing the South: How commercial myths compete for identity value through the ideological shaping of popular memories and countermemories. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(5), 595-613.
- Vivian, Bradford. Public forgetting: The rhetoric and politics of beginning again. University Park: Penn State University Press, 2010.
Recent Work: (Selected by Jaclyn Bruner & Janna Söder)
- Miller, Eric C. (2014). “Fighting for Freedom: Liberal Argumentation in Culture War Rhetoric.” Journal of Communication & Religion 37,102-25.
- Reeves, Joshua. (2013). “Suspended Identification: Atopos and the Work of Public Memory.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 46, 306-327.
- Reeves, Joshua & May, Matthew S. (2013). “The Peace Rhetoric of a War President: Barack Obama and the Just War Legacy.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 16,623-650
- Teneboim-Weinblatt, Keren (2013). “Bridging Collective Memories and Public Agendas: Toward a Theory of Mediated Prospective Memory.” Communication Theory 23, 91-111.
- Winderman, Emily (2014). “S(anger) Goes Postal in The Woman Rebel: Angry Rhetoric as a Collectivizing Moral Emotion.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 17, 381-420.
- Vanderhaagen, Sara (2012). “Practical Truths: Black Feminist Agency and Public Memory in Biographies for Children.” Women’s Studies in Communication 35, 18-41.
- Vivian, Bradford (2014). “Witnessing Time: Rhetorical Form, Public Culture, and Popular Historical Education.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 44, 204-19.
Identity and Subjectivity
Three problems have marked the stages in the development of this move in contemporary
rhetorical theory. The beginning lay in George Herbert Mead's notions of the
role of the communication in the formation of the identity of the individual.
Mead theorized the individual integrated through what he called "gestures"
(that we would call "symbolic acts") reflected off significant others
to construct our notions of ourselves. Mead founded symbolic interactionism
and his followers began to map the strategies by which identity developed and
Mead's notion of how the identity of individuals was formed involved an inherently
social context. So it was a small extension to seeing how groups of people were
integrated by common discourses and the symbolic actions that they performed
with those discourses. Social order could be seen as arrays of identifications
jockeying for position, gaining and losing strength, clashing with others, aligning
with still others, and defining the texture of social action in their activity.
Of particular interest was how new identities formed and became the grounds
of social action. McGee and then Charland theorized the ways in which rhetoric
The introduction of new identities seeking power in the competitive environment
of societies of interlocking identities gave rise to the third stage of this
work: subjectivity. The question was how the process of identity formation empowered
individuals and positions to resist hegemonic discourses of control. This overt
insertion of the freedom/domination problem led to questions about the tensions
that compose social order: silence and voice, power and powerlessness, individual
and community. How can the rhetor empower his/her rhetoric? This became known
as the problem of agency or subjectivity.
Clusters: rhetoric and identity, constructing the subject, constructing
agency, constituting subjectivity, <the people>.
Questions to Guide Discussion:
We begin with the idea (originated by Mead, verbalized here by Burke) that identity “would not even exist were it not for the verbal.” To these early identity and subjectivity scholars, rhetoric was primarily the vehicle by which an individual or group communicated identity to others.
McGee’s piece begin the turn to constitutive rhetoric (exemplified by Charland’s article, “Constitutive Rhetoric: The Case of the Peuple Québécois”), and encourages us to ask:
- What makes identity rhetorical? How is it in discourse?
- How does rhetoric shift identity from being something in an individual, to something embedded in society?
McGee writes, “So long as ‘the people’ believe basic myths, there is unity and collective identity. When there is no fundamental belief, one senses a crisis which can only be met with a new rhetoric, a new mythology."
- What are some basic myths shared by all Americans?
- How do you account for people who still identity as Americans, but do not believe these myths?
Jackson and Moshin discuss the I-other dialectic. If we are to go beyond understanding “how the I-other dialectic operates… we must also recognize when Others are being marked or named.”
- How does theory inscribe power relations by identifying something as “Other”?
- Does the power that makes something Other also deny it the identify its own identity?
- How do “Others” obtain standing in the public sphere?
Jackson and Moshin call for scholars to “point out the illusion of differences… [and to] act and speak out for those who suffer because of them.”
- How might we pursue this activism through theory? Or is advocacy the purview of rhetorical criticism only?
- How can rhetorical scholars engages their own identity and subjectivity when they choose to advocate?
Foucault argues that “the subject (and its substitutes) must be stripped of its creative role and analysed as a complex and variable function of discourse.”
- What does it mean to be a subject?
- How does Foucault’s theory of authorless discourse trouble McKerrow and McGee’s theories of critical rhetoric?
- Why do we consider authorship to be important for scholarship?
- Charland, Maurice. "Constitutive Rhetoric: The Case of the Peuple
Quebecois." Quarterly Journal of Speech 73 (May 1987): 133-50.
- * Foucault, Michel. "What is an
Author?" Trans. Josué V. Harari. Foucault Reader, ed. Paul
Rabinow, 101-20.. New York: Pantheon, 1984.
- Stuart Hall. "Introduction: Who Needs
'Identity'?" Questions of Cultural Identity, eds. Stuart Hall and
Paul Du Gay, 1-17. London: Sage, 1996.
- * McGee, Michael C. "In Search of 'The People': A Rhetorical Alternative."
Quarterly Journal of Speech 61 (October 1975): 235-49. (CMMC)
- Raymie McKerrow. "Critical
Rhetoric and the Possibility of the Subject." The Critical Turn: Rhetoric
and Philosophy in Postmodern Discourse, eds. Ian Angus, and Lenore Langsdorf, 51-67.
Carbondale: Southern Illinois U. P. 1993.
- Mead, George Herbert. "Self." Mind, Self, and Society.
Ed. Charles W. Morris. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1934. 135-86.
- Anderson, Dana. Identity's Strategy. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2007.
- Black, Edwin. "The Second Persona." Quarterly Journal of Speech
56, no. 2 (April 1970): 109-119.
- Bruner, M. Lane. Strategies of Remembrance: The Rhetorical Dimensions
of National Identity Construction . Columbia : University of South Carolina
- Burke, Kenneth. Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969. original edition, 1950.
- Conrad, Charles, and Elizabeth A. Macom. "Re-Visiting Kenneth Burke:
Dramatism/ Logology and the Problem of Agency." Southern Communication
Journal 61 (Fall 1995): 11-28.
- Dow, Bonnie J. "Politicizing Voice." Western Journal
of Communication (1997): 243-251.
- Eisenberg, Eric M. "Building a Mystery: Toward a New Theory of Communication
and Identity." Journal of Communication 51.3 (2001): 534-52.
- Gergen, Kenneth J. "Narrative,
Moral Identity and Historical Consciousness: A Social Constructist Account.."
- Habermas, Jürgen. "An Alternative Way out of the Philosophy of
the Subject: Communicative versus Subject-Centered Reason." The Philosophical
Discourse of Modernity. Trans. Frederick Lawrence, 294-326. 1985; Cambridge MA:
MIT Press, 1987.
- Hay, Kellie D. and Mary M. Garrett. "Engaging Materialist, Poststructuralist
and Postcolonial Rhetorics." Quarterly Journal of Speech 87 (2001):
- *Jackson, Ronald L. and Jamie Moshin, "Identity and Difference Race and Necessity of the Discriminating Subject." In The Handbook of Critical Intercultrual Communication, eds. Thomas K. Nakayama & Rona Tamiko Halualani, 348-363. Chicester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2011.
- Nakayama, Thomas K., and Robert L. Krizek. "Whiteness: A strategic rhetoric." Quarterly Journal of Speech 81, no. 3 (1995): 291–309.
- Nakayama, Thomas K., and Judith N. Martin. Whiteness: The communication of social identity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (1999).
- Rogers, Richard A. "Overcoming the Objectification of Nature in Constitutive
Theories: Toward a Transhuman, Materialist Theory of Communication."
Western Journal of Communication (1998): 244-272.
- Watts , Eric King. "'Voice' and 'Voicelessness' in Rhetorical Studies."
Quarterly Journal of Speech 87 (2001): 179-96.
- Zagacki, Kenneth S., “Constitutive Rhetoric Reconsidered: Constitutive Paradoxes in G.W. Bush’s Iraq War Speeches,” Western Journal of Communication 71 (2007), 272-293.
Recent Work: (Selected by Devin Scott and Will Howell)
- Allen, Amy. The politics of our selves: Power, autonomy, and gender in contemporary critical theory. Columbia University Press, 2013.
- Andreouli, Eleni, and Caroline Howarth. "National identity, citizenship and immigration: Putting identity in context." Journal for the theory of social behaviour 43, no. 3 (2013): 361-382.
- Atkins-Sayre, Wendy, and Ashli Quesinberry Stokes. "Crafting the Cornbread Nation: The Southern Foodways Alliance and Southern Identity." Southern Communication Journal 79, no. 2 (2014): 77-93.
- Deppermann, Arnulf. "Positioning in narrative interaction." Narrative Inquiry 23, no. 1 (2013): 1-15.
- Franzese, Alexis T. "Motivation, Motives, and Individual Agency." In Handbook of Social Psychology, pp. 281-318. Springer Netherlands, 2013.
- Goehring, Charles, and George N. Dionisopoulos. "Identification by Antithesis: The Turner Diaries as Constitutive Rhetoric." Southern Communication Journal78, no. 5 (2013): 369-386.
- Guillem, Susana Martínez. "Constructing contexts,(re) defining immigrants: Mental models and social representations in immigration policy defense."Discourse & Society 24, no. 2 (2013): 208-228.
- Happe, Kelly E. "The Body of Race: Toward a Rhetorical Understanding of Racial Ideology." Quarterly Journal of Speech 99, no. 2 (2013): 131-155.
- Heath, Robert L., and Damion Waymer. "Terrorism: Social capital, social construction, and constructive society?." Public Relations Inquiry 3, no. 2 (2014): 227-244.
- Lin, Canchu, and Yueh-Ting Lee. "The Constitutive Rhetoric of Democratic Centralism: a thematic analysis of Mao's discourse on democracy." Journal of Contemporary China 22, no. 79 (2013): 148-165.
- Nicholson, Helen, and Brigid Carroll. "Identity undoing and power relations in leadership development." Human Relations 66, no. 9 (2013): 1225-1248.
- Prody, Jessica M. "A Call for Polycultural Arguments: Critiquing the Monoculture Rhetoric of the Local Food Movement." Argumentation and Advocacy 50, no. 2 (2013): 104.
- Roberts, Lorna. "Becoming a Black Researcher: Reflections on Racialised Identity and Knowledge Production." International Review of Qualitative Research 6, no. 3 (2013): 337-359.
- Selby, Gary S., and John M. Jones. "In Good Faith: John McCain's “New Republican Majority” Address and the Problem of Religion and Politics." Southern Communication Journal 78, no. 2 (2013): 146-162.
- Sewell, John Ike. "“Becoming Rather Than Being”: Queer’s Double-Edged Discourse as Deconstructive Practice." Journal of Communication Inquiry 38, no. 4 (2014): 291-307.
- Seyranian, Viviane. "Social Identity Framing communication strategies for mobilizing social change." The Leadership Quarterly 25, no. 3 (2014): 468-486.
- Stokes, Ashli Quesinberry. "You are what you eat: Slow Food USA's constitutive public relations." Journal of Public Relations Research 25, no. 1 (2013): 68-90.
- Wohlrapp, Harald R. "Subjectivity." In The Concept of Argument, pp. 93-125. Springer Netherlands, 2014.
- Yang, Zhixiang. "Imagined Identity Constructs Conduits For Chinese Totalitarianism." Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies 2, no. 7 (2014).
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