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Rhetoric Key Concepts in “An Overview of Rhetoric” by Robert Herrick.

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Presentation on theme: "Rhetoric Key Concepts in “An Overview of Rhetoric” by Robert Herrick."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rhetoric Key Concepts in “An Overview of Rhetoric” by Robert Herrick

2 Rhetoric has a dual nature Can be used to “cheat” or to be insincere or “meaningless” Must be used to negotiate all human cooperation – Alternative to rhetoric: GUNS/violence or some other form of bribery or coercion

3 Good things rhetoric can do Help us organize our thinking (internal/cognitive function) Help us make rational decisions about how to act in the face of uncertainty What kind of “good” persuasion do nurses do?

4 Rhetoric can help us UNDERSTAND situations and discourse Who is being addressed (who is the speaker/writer attempting to persuade?) Of what does the speaker/writer want them to be persuaded (what are they being asked to think, believe, and/or do?) What elements of the discourse (word choice, word order, pictures, etc.) are doing the work of persuading?

5 Uncertainty/Contingency Rhetoric is using discourse to decide what to do under conditions of uncertainty – Can we think of “everyday” situations that do not comprise ANY uncertainty/contingency? – Can we think of any nursing practice situations that do not comprise ANY uncertainty/contingency? (p. 43 BG)

6 Let’s consider an example You are a nurse in a clinic that provides care for chronically ill patients, including diabetics. You meet with a diabetic patient who tells you that she checked her blood glucose with a self-monitoring device an hour ago and her glucose (A1C) was 6.6 (the ADA recommends a target of < 7.0). TASK: In writing, brainstorm some of the issues of uncertainty you now face. TASK: In writing, brainstorm some of the rhetoric you’ll need to use (consume and produce) as a nurse

7 Signs and Symbols These are the “raw materials” from which people build persuasive discourse EXAMPLE: Bathroom icons – are these persuasive? – how does their persuasion work? ALSO: the more buy-in you already have from your audience, the less hard you have to work on using signs to persuade – What would you have to do to persuade people to use the “gender-alternate” bathroom?

8 Is this image rhetoric?




12 What are the limits of rhetoric? All communication? Certain communication? – Planned (purposeful); goal-oriented – Adapted to an audience – Responsive to situation – Seeks to persuade – Concerned with “uncertainty” (contingency) Rhetoric CAN be resisted!!!

13 Forging links to audience Persuasion doesn’t start from a blank slate. You build on what people ALREADY know and/or believe This is called “identification” – Folgers commercial: what existing knowledge and values does this message build from?

14 Enthymeme Builds on an already-believed premise that is not stated: – Example: The health disparities report: what is the “unspoken” premise? – Example: Planned Parenthood Morning-After Pill piece

15 Constraints The rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, context) CONSTRAIN what a writer/speaker can say – How is the Planned Parenthood piece probably constrained by rhetorical situation? BUT: Rhetoric always intends to move the audience to a “new place” – some new belief—it has to navigate between what people already believe and what you want them to believe

16 Audience adaptation Let’s tailor this message to a patient audience: – “Your t-cell count is elevated and we’ll need to start an infusion of phage therapy” – “Patients are prohibited from self-determination with regard to their post-surgical saline drip therapy”

17 “The Rhetorical Situation” Events set up “situations” (also called an “exigence”) to which people must respond appropriately with a rhetorical performance: – Hurricane Katrina Question: do rhetoricians merely RESPOND to situations, or does their performance sometimes CREATE situations? – Depression ad study

18 Resources of symbols used to persuade: Argument Appeals Arrangement Aesthetics

19 Argument “reasoning” – giving reasons for people to accept a belief – Does music provide people with REASONS for belief? – Does evidence provide people with reasons for belief? In writing, brainstorm an example of a nursing question and what sort of evidence would give you reason for belief

20 Appeals Elicit emotions or engage values, loyalties, or commitments – Question: Will reason alone really motivate action? Or MUST you also engage people’s emotions? – Can you think of an argument that would motivate a patient to get more exercise? Can you think of an appeal that would persuade the patient?

21 Arrangement Order/sequence matters! – Can you think of an example of how someone’s experience of the UWEC campus is being “sequenced” to produce a particular belief?

22 Arrangement in images

23 Aesthetics Gettysburg Address – speeches/gettysburg.htm Folgers commercial

24 Social Functions of Rhetoric Test ideas Assist advocacy Distribute power (personal, psychological, political) Discover facts Shape knowledge Build communities TASK: in writing, brainstorm ways that rhetoric can serve nurses in each of these capacities

25 So what’s it all about? Power Truth Ethics Audience Society Exactly how rhetoric works and how it addresses these issues has been debated for thousands of years.

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