An Overview of Rhetorical Messages

Supplements Longaker, chap 1, adapted from Stoner and Perkins, chap 1)

1. Rhetoric deals with the probable, the contingent, the possible, the arguable. It addresses social truths but not Truth.

2. Rhetorical messages are contextual and social. They are created in and exist in particular social contexts of human interaction. Rhetorical messages are located in time, place, culture, and situation and the significance of a rhetorical message comes in part by way of this context.

3. Rhetorical messages are more or less purposeful, more or less directed responses to a particular situation that can be changed by means of rhetoric.

4. Rhetorical messages are designed to shape the way people think, act, feel, believe. They are not confined to rationale or logic alone, nor to emotion alone. And they are not always overtly persuasive. Rhetorical messages can shape actions and beliefs subtly, without overt announcement or acknowledgement of intent.

That is: Rhetoric deals with messages that rely on verbal and nonverbal symbols that more or less intentionally influence social attitudes, values, beliefs, and actions." (Stoner and Perkins, 6)

5. Rhetorical messages are material. Rhetors use physical materials of various kinds - spoken, written, printed, projected, manifest n screen, gesture, sound, rhythm, image, movement, landscape, architectural, design materials ... to create and deploy signs. Materials offer affordances and constraints that influence and shape what can be done rhetorically. Buildings make arguments, attempt to persuade, because the architects are drawing on symbolic resources of materials and design. By the same token, rhetors use digital resources to more or less intentionally influence social attitudes, values, beliefs, and actions.

In this course

We're going to practice as rhetorical critics to look at how messages work rhetorically to influence social attitudes, values, beliefs, and actions.

Critical perspective

Takes a stand outside the rhetorical interaction: not the rhetor nor part of the audience. The critic stands as an observer, taking a balcony view, to craft a considered response rather than put forward a gut reaction. Doing so means engaging a method.

Critical method




Consider, for instance, CourseStatement.


CategoryNotes
There are no comments on this page.
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki