Feminist Rhetorical Resilience

Feminist Rhetorical Resilience

Feminist Rhetorical Resilience

Feminist Rhetorical Resilience

Excerpt

Given that life subjects all of us to tensions and suffering, and that
relationships as well as individuals are buffeted by forces that create
pain, disconnection, and the threat of dissolution, the capacity for rela
tional resilience, or transformation, is essential
.

Judith V. Jordan, “Relational Resilience”

Resilience is a powerful metaphor that, although heretofore absent from conversations within feminist rhetoric, can refocus the field in very productive ways. While similar to metaphors used previously by feminist rhetoricians, it is also distinct in that it places greater emphasis on agency, change, and hope in the daily lives of individuals or groups of individuals. Resilience suggests attention to choices made in the face of difficult and even impossible challenges. Collectively, the contributors to Feminist Rhetorical Resilience create a robust feminist conception of resilience as a complex rhetorical process. Too often resilience has been associated with psychological characteristics inherent in some individuals or cultures and absent in others. We demonstrate, however, through the seven essays, responses, and reflections included in our book, that a feminist conception of resilience is best seen not as fundamentally psychological but as rhetorical, relational, and contextual. The essays also suggest that feminist resilient communicative action can include multiple and sometimes contradictory strategies that must be worked out situationally. Our contributors, by focusing on a range of sites and issues, together construct a conception of feminist resilience that provides new directions for feminist rhetorical inquiry and new models for leading fulfilling, healthy lives.

Within the context of this book, feminist rhetorical resilience includes actions undertaken by rhetors, usually women, who, with varying degrees of success, discursively interact with others, resulting in improved situations despite contexts of significant adversity. Such rhetorical interaction, the essays suggest, can take many forms and occur within a variety of situations, including environmental activism in the form of letters, press releases, protests, and critiques of corporate documents within global contexts (Schell); performances, musical and . . .

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