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CRITICAL APPROACHES

TO RHETORIC
ENG 211: RHETORIC
T H U R S D AY F E B R U A R Y 2 5 2 0 1 6

MID- TO LATE-TWENTIETH CENTURY:


SHIFTS IN RHETORICAL THEORY
Rhetorical criticism becomes more prominent.
Rhetorical theory is used to study nonoratorical
artifacts.
Definition of text is broadened significantly.

Rhetorical theory is used more to study the influence


of rhetoric on cultures.
Reflects a broader shift in politics and economics.

IDEOLOGY, POWER,
HEGEMONY, & IDEOGRAPH
Ideology is a set of meanings a culture holds for a set of
related artifacts.
Power is the ability to control the meanings of symbols
within a culture.
Hegemony is the subtle control over a cultures ideology by
the dominant class.
Ideographs are words or phrases that contain strong
ideological messages.

THE IDEOLOGICAL TURN


Shift towards exploring rhetorics influence on
ideology.
The Third Persona refers to what is negated in
rhetoric.
Rhetorical critics began looking at how rhetoric
excludes individuals from full participation in
society.

CRITICAL APPROACHES TO
RHETORIC: FOUR CHARACTERISTICS
Critical approaches attempt to look beneath the
surface of rhetoric.
Critical approaches use systematic methodologies to
uncover and evaluate ideological practices in rhetoric.
Critical approaches are concerned with power.
Critical approaches help critics play an active role in
equalizing power relationships in society.

THE INFLUENCE OF MARXIST THEORY


Marxism is concerned with
class struggle.
The base refers to the actual
practices and products of
capitalism.
The superstructure includes
the social, political, and
religious institutions that
result from the base.

MARXIST RHETORICAL THEORIES


Rhetorical theorists have developed three
versions of Marxism.
The materialist view seeks to reconcile rhetoric with
the reality people experience and witness.
The idealist view sees rhetoric as a material force
that influences how people see the world.
The relativist view believes rhetoric creates reality.

THE PUBLIC SPHERE: HOW POWER IS


MANAGED THROUGH RHETORIC
The public sphere is the discursive space in which individuals
can discuss matters of mutual interest and reach agreement
about these matters.
The idea of the public sphere traces its history to European civil
society.
Contemporary theorists are revising Jurgen Habermass original
conception of the public sphere, focusing on counterpublics
and the boundaries between the public sphere and private life.
Universal pragmatics is a way of using rhetoric that allows
individuals of focus on rational argument and power.

CRITICAL RHETORIC
Critical rhetoric is a theory that allows individuals to question how
power is embedded in rhetoric and how rhetoric can be used to liberate
individuals.
Critical rhetoric involves two processes.
The critique of domination focuses on rhetorical practices that oppress individuals.
The critique of freedom creates new power arrangements that must be continually
examined.

Critical rhetoric must be practiced for it to be effective at changing


power relations.

PERSPECTIVES ON RHETORIC,
KNOWLEDGE, IDENTITY, & JUDGEMENT
Most critical theorists focus on the implications of rhetorical
practice.
Critical theorists seek to understand how particular types of
knowledge are thought to be true in a culture.
Critical theorists believe that an individuals sense of self is
determined by the power relationships in which he or she lives.
All critical theorists seek to use rhetorical ethically, to reduce
oppression and promote liberation.