By Sharon McKenzie Stevens
Explores the connection among social hobbies and rhetorical concept and perform.
Read Online or Download Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements PDF
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Extra info for Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements
Margit Mayer (1991) claims America’s longstanding tradition of civil disobedience illustrates a historical relationship between civic and cultural domains; this tradition did not exist in Europe where sharp distinctions between civic and cultural agendas encouraged the formation of political parties as opposed to cultural movements. S. political establishments have historically dictated differences in how social movements form as well as in how scholars theorize them, which explains why American scholars have repeatedly challenged the novelty of new social movements.
The second theme will be our concern for the remainder of this chapter as we consider preliminary strands of thought on the role of the everyday in shaping the social agon of dissidence and implications of the vernacular for the study of social movements. A Theorizing of Vernacular Rhetoric A recent and noticeable trend in the development of rhetorical theory is a general move away from leader-focused, formal oratorical models of rhetoric and toward a rhetoric “of the people” that centers on more informal, and perhaps “fragmented” understandings of discourse (see Brummett 2004; Charland 1987; Eberly 2000; Hauser 1998, 1999; McGee 1975, 1990; Ono and Sloop 1995).
Voting (or expressing one’s opinion) serves as the method to settle questions of contingency on which opinions differ. And the expectation that the majority will prevail ensures that its opinion will matter in setting public policy and state action. In this way, the apparent fairness of permitting all a voice and vote and of guaranteeing majority rule secures citizens against the rule of autocrats and subjugation by an authoritarian state. This is a powerful story. It appeals to the cultural biases of free citizens because its narrative portrays a world in which they can chart their own destiny.