Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement: Selected Papers from the 2002 Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America

Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement: Selected Papers from the 2002 Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America

Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement: Selected Papers from the 2002 Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America

Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement: Selected Papers from the 2002 Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America

Synopsis

This collection presents theoretical, critical, applied, and pedagogical questions and cases of publics and public spheres, examining these contexts as sources and sites of civic engagement. Reflecting the current state of rhetorical theory and research, the contributions arise from the 2002 conference proceedings of the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA). The collected essays bring together rhetoricians of different intellectual stripes in a multi-traditional conversation about rhetoric's place in a democracy. In addition to the wide variety of topics presented at the RSA conference, the volume also includes the papers from the President's Panel, which addressed the rhetoric surrounding September 11, 2001, and its aftermath. Other topics include the rhetorics of cyberpolitical culture, race, citizenship, globalization, the environment, new media, public memory, and more. This volume makes a singular contribution toward improving the understanding of rhetoric's role in civic engagement and public discourse, and will serve scholars and students in rhetoric, political studies, and cultural studies.

Excerpt

This volume takes as its point of departure the idea that democracy remains an unfinished project. Even as the United States attempts to export its brand of democracy to the rest of the world, scholars and citizens wonder aloud about the health of our own democracy and question whether our practices indeed live up to our democratic principles. The forces of globalization, technology, capitalism, multiculturalism, and other social changes compel us to continually reinvent democratic practices well before we can begin to judge their viability. As we approach an uncertain future, we look with nostalgia to the past. We seek wisdom from the idealized democracies of ancient Athens and Rome only to realize that we cannot simply resurrect democratic practices developed for times and cultures vastly different from our own. One lesson from our ancient forbearers endures, however: the idea that democracy and rhetoric are inextricably linked. Tending to the business of democracy means tending to its rhetorical practices.

The Tenth Biennial Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America specifically invited participants to reflect on this theme. In May of 2002, over four hundred scholars from eight nations convened in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss the range of concerns associated with democracy's promise and its pitfalls. Amidst the hyperreality of the Las Vegas strip, rhetoricians of all stripes gathered to create a discursive space in which rhetorical democracy was more than a dream—it was made present in the formal and informal conversations that took place that weekend. The 2002 conference was by far the largest RSA conference to date, and it brought together rhetorical scholars housed in Communication, English, and Writing departments as well as colleagues from allied disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. The broad interpretation of and enthusiastic response to the conference theme suggests a deep concern with what it means to practice democracy at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It also suggests that although rhetorical scholarship is too often marked by institutional divisions and diverse interests, our common aspirations to foster democratic practice can bring us together.

This volume represents only a fraction of the papers presented in Las Vegas. Even so, it is difficult to categorize in any simple way the thirty-nine papers appearing in this collection. Their range suggests that tending to rhetorical democracy means attending to political oratory, sermons, and courtroom rhetoric . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.