Download Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements by Sharon McKenzie Stevens PDF

By Sharon McKenzie Stevens

Explores the connection among social activities and rhetorical concept and perform.

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The widespread adoption of his view fostered rhetorical criticism of the street scene as an instantiation of power. Burke’s theory of form (1941, 1950, 1953), although suggestive for accounts of symbolic action, was less sensitive to ongoing processes whose fluidity of fits, starts, and unanticipated turns defied clear classification. More formally, the discipline of rhetoric in the United States changed radically in the last half of the 1960s. Edwin Black’s Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method (1965) tolled the death knell for neo-Aristotelianism, which had been the dominant methodology for critics of public address.

Scott (1990), and Touraine (1981), among others, rejects the position that social actors are social dopes unaware of the operations of institutions that produce and reproduce society. 1 These portrayals of the contest between society’s “ins” and “outs” find their most evident manifestation in social movements that seek control of society’s resources. These struggles have taken a variety of forms, ranging from members of the Women’s Christian Temperance movement marching into taverns to embarrass men into forsaking the “evils” of alcohol, through the freedom marches of the civil rights movement and economic boycotts in support of the United Farm Workers, to the dramatic and sometimes violent modes of resistance in liberatory movements opposing colonial and postcolonial powers.

Equally, they have their own terms of Vernacular Rhetoric and Social Movements 37 cleavage from the dominant power, as one finds, for example, in the writings of Frantz Fanon (1963, 1965, 1967). Second, vernacular rhetoric also reveals those in movements sometimes have negative bonding with authority (Sennett 1980). Negative bonding, or a bond of rejection, commonly refers to the need of those with less power to have authorities that cannot be accepted safely. The bond manifests itself in the weaker needing the stronger to define itself.

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