Presentation on theme: "Notes from Keith & Lundberg"— Presentation transcript:
1 Notes from Keith & Lundberg Rhetorical TheoryNotes from Keith & Lundberg
2 What is rhetoric? Variety of meanings Persuasive language (any discourse: need not be speech)Books that study such languageA style of speakingOverly pretentious language ("mere rhetoric")Any form of communicationAlso we know a "rhetorical question" as one that needs no answerFor us, it's mainly the first definition. Rhetoric is study of how, when and why a discourse is persuasive, causes people to act.[For some to persuade = get you to do somethingConvince = get you to believe or think something]
3 History Plato thought rhetoric was dangerous Aristotle thought rhetoric was any technique of speechIt has logic, can be studiedLogic and persuasion go hand-in-handTypes of speech (rhetoric) depend on the goalsAristotle's 3 types:forensic., e.g. at a trial (examines the past)epideictic, e.g. a eulogy (examines the present, how we should feel)deliberative, e.g. in the senate (examines the future)
4 Some applications today Identity and power: certain discourses of identity (ways of representing yourself) can be persuasive, while others can be discriminatoryVisual and material symbols: discourse can also be visual, symbolic and therefore symbols can have persuasive power Q: What are some key persuasive, rhetorical symbols?Persuasive (rhetorical) speech is key to how using communication can shape democracy
5 The Audience (chapter 2) Key move in rhetoric versus just transmitting information is to examine the audience (or the public). Who is in it? What situation do they find themselves in? How does timing affect the effectiveness of a message?Said another way, a speaker needs toSay the right thingTo the right peopleIn the right situationAt the right timeWith the right ethical conditionsCommunication theory models the basic process thus:
7 Computers can communicate—send a signal to a receiver, and there can be feedback, but rhetoric requires understanding of the audience and how it is persuaded. That takes (rhetorical) skill.Aristotle recognized that audiences are not "helpless dupes" and there is no universal formula for persuasion[20-th century studies e.g. by Adorno of propaganda failed to find a 'magic bullet" or hypodermic needle"; Q: What probably inspired these studies?]
8 Audiences are made, not found This is a key stance for rhetoricians. Obviously an audience brings characteristics to the discourse situation, but speaker can compose or evoke certain feelings and reactionsPart of that comes from the speaker's image or persona; rhetoric calls it the speaker's ethos (more to come); think of it like their reputation, which might include that they seem to be ethical and trustworthyThe other part comes from how the speaker addresses the audience; how does she ask the audience to see themselves [e.g. as parents vs. taxpayers at a PTA meeting]
9 PublicsAs rhetorical situations or forms of address get more public (mediated) speakers need to know if there are certain commonalities among that public audience—usually there are; that might be a national identity, a fan group for music or moviesThere is a public sphere [Jurgen Habermas] where ideas are exchanged and debated; this can include mediaRhetoric can have indirect effects because discourse in the public sphere, if framed publically (not: "I hate the king because of his eyes"), includes possible effects on othersIt can be hard to know which messages address us—are they meant to be public or private?How, why, when, for whom is a text/discourse persuasive?
10 Need to adapt to audiences Audiences changeAudiences are different to begin withSome are fragmented, some less soTherefore, you need to adapt your premises, reasons, examples and speech, including word choices, to each audience.Audiences vary bySituation and motives, expectations, needsContext and settingDemographicsIdeology/psychographicsGenre or type of speech/discourse
11 A balancing actCreating effective rhetorical discourse is a tension between to finding common elements and appealing to all as one, versus acknowledging audience segments and finding arguments that suit each group[Q: What are the pros and cons of each approach? ]This also applies to appropriate tone, delivery, choice of words, structure of language (linguistic choices); For example how can gendered pronouns cause negative reactions because of what an audience infers? [Q What are those? How do Keith & Lundberg deal with this issue?]
12 Ethical choices in language use Don't deceive. That can be either lying by commission (you know it's a lie); lying by omission (you leave out some part, e.g. saying 100,000 jobs were created to persuade people that job market is improving [Q: What's left out here?]; lying by BS [the book spells this out] (you don't know if it's true or not but you say it anyway)Don't leave out possible contrary evidence; arguments must be two-sidedBe fair and truthful—you owe it to any audienceYou are accountable for your speech act/discourse and the audience it creates; means (e.g. manipulating an audience) don't justify ends to a true rhetorician
13 Chapter 3 Rhetorical situations The rhetorical situation is a result ofThe contextThe timeThe audienceThe circumstancesFor Aristotle that led to the three types we saw earlier based on their purpose:Forensic (examine the past); epideictic (in the present); deliberative (in the future)For Cicero that was whether the speech was intended to inform, persuade or entertain [also media theory; as well as surveillance of your environment][Effects also can be classified as cognitive, affective or behavioral]
14 McGee added focus on the intended result or change. So in sum, look at Bitzer combined both: look at the circumstances (Aristotle) and the intent (Cicero)Look specifically at what led to the speech/discourse (exigence); also what is the culture of the audienceMcGee added focus on the intended result or change. So in sum, look atWho is speakingWho is listeningWhat is being saidWhat the speaker is trying to get done, where and whenWhyTherefore look at what was before and after the discourse
15 Sum (?) Who is "speaking" What is being said Who the audience is What the context isWhy the discourse is occurringWhat goals and interests does the speaker have?What goals and interest does the audience have?