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Studying Speeches. Rhetorical history Rhetorical criticism. Definition: Rhetoric. The use of the resources of language to shape response to a public situation. Rhetoric responds to situations Situations are public situations Rhetoric concerns responses to situations; shape action

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studying speeches

Studying Speeches

Rhetorical history

Rhetorical criticism

definition rhetoric
Definition: Rhetoric

The use of the resources of language to shape response to a public situation.

  • Rhetoric responds to situations
  • Situations are public situations
  • Rhetoric concerns responses to situations; shape action
  • Rhetoric involves the use of language in response
  • Rhetoric is strategic: goal seeking
powers of rhetorical message
Powers of Rhetorical Message
  • Assembles relevant elements of context
  • Creates a flow of events (Understanding)
    • Sequences
    • Theory of causes
  • Creates a value structure for events
    • Things that are deplorable (unfriendly)
    • Things that are inviting (friendly)
  • Motivates particular response
    • Rationalizes response
    • Organizes response
powers of language 9 11
Powers of language: 9/11
  • Assembles relevant elements of context
    • Who did it? Why? Like Pearl Harbor? Came as students; Resistance on United flight 93; Al Qaeda training bases in Afghanistan
    • Not: Impact of American policy on motivation; failures of our defenses; Why these buildings?; our cultural differences with attackers; Impact of American entertainment media
  • Creates a flow of events (Understanding)
    • Caused by “hatred of our freedom”; “exploited our <freedoms>”
  • Creates a value structure for events
    • “Evil actions, done by evil people”
    • Innocent victims
  • Motivates particular response
    • Must defend ourselves
    • Afghanistan as target
a model of rhetorical response
A Model of Rhetorical Response

. . . Draws elements from context . . .

A rhetorical message . . .

. . . into an understanding to shape a response.

as a public we demand leaders speak
As a public we demand leaders speak . . .
  • They clarify events for us
  • They provide us an account of what happened
  • They guide us to a public response
  • They inspire us to commit to that response
inaugural addresses
Inaugural Addresses
  • Rituals provided to leaders to define our time
  • Name the time as they see it
  • They provide a mosaic of values
  • Declare their commitment to responses to that time
understanding rhetorical moments
Understanding Rhetorical Moments

Bitzer’s account of rhetorical situation

  • Exigence: Problem demanding response
  • Audience: The public the spkr addresses
  • Constraints: resources available to spkr
    • Limiting elements
    • Opportunities
  • Speaker makes choices: fitting or unfitting

We judge the speaker’s rhetorical act: a fitting response to rhetorical situation or not

understanding rhetorical moments1
Understanding Rhetorical Moments

Bitzer’s account of rhetorical situation

  • Exigence: Situation group & Historical context group
  • Audience: Situation group
  • Constraints: Biography group, Situation group, Historical Context group
  • Speaker makes fitting choices: Response group

We judge the speaker’s rhetorical act: a fitting response to rhetorical situation or not

rhetorical history as context
Rhetorical History as Context

We study several factors:

  • What exigence created the rhetorical moment?
    • Short term history
  • What did the speaker draw upon in his rhetorical response? What did s/he not choose to recognize? (constraints or choices from context)
    • History of the times; broader historical understanding
  • What characteristics of the speaker helped shape his/her response? (personal constraints)
    • Biography
    • Training in speaking
  • How did the speech shape public response?
    • Response to the speech
brockriede s criticism
Brockriede’s Criticism
  • Criticism:
    • passing judgment on experience: Evaluative
    • for better understanding of experience: Explanation
  • Argument: 5 characteristics
    • From known to unknown
    • Reason to believe the unknown
    • Choice among competing judgment/explanation
    • Probable, not certain
    • Willingness to be wrong
brockriede s criticism1
Criticism:

passing judgment for better understanding

Argument

known to unknown

Reason to believe

Competing judgment/explanation

Probable, not certain

Willingness to be wrong

George Bush first considered the events a crime subject to investigation, then an act of war subject to military action.

George Bush had little choice but to go to war after media had framed events as Pearl Harbor.

Brockriede’s Criticism
brockriede s criticism2
Brockriede’s Criticism
  • Claim
    • Your inferential leap
    • What you seek to prove
  • Make a significant claim
    • Description not enough
    • Classification (labeling) not enough
    • Significant claim has characteristic of argument
brockriede s criticism3
Claim

Your inferential leap

What you seek to prove

Make a significant claim

Description not enough

Classification (labeling) not enough

Significant claim has characteristic of argument

George Bush first considered the events a crime subject to investigation, then an act of war subject to military action.

George Bush had little choice but to go to war after media had framed events as Pearl Harbor.

Brockriede’s Criticism
brockriede s explanation argument
Brockriede’s “Explanation” Argument

How does the speaker

  • gather context,
  • shape it into an understanding, and
  • transform it into motivation?

Argument should be

  • Significant claim
  • Well proven
brockriede s evaluation argument
Brockriede’s “Evaluation” Argument

How well does the spkr respond to the situation?

  • What does the situation require?
  • What resources does the spkr have?
  • What barriers must the spkr overcome?

Argument should be

  • Significant claim
  • Well proven
our agenda for discussions
Our Agenda for Discussions
  • What in the moment are the demands on the speaker?
  • What strategies does the speaker use to respond?
    • What do they respond to in the context?
    • How does he respond to them?
  • How appropriate are the strategies?
    • Appropriate for the context?
    • Appropriate for his/her goals?
implications on your papers
Implications on Your Papers
  • Develop a thesis about the speech and its response to situation
    • Explain the speech’s response to situation
    • Evaluate the speaker’s response
  • Support that thesis with your research
    • Biography of the speaker
    • Historical context
    • Demands of the moment
    • Responses to the speech