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Strategies. There is a huge collection of materials on strategies on Blackboard. See especially the material on Parry and drug ads, Daily Show, CARS, Rifkin, etc. You may want to use short, accessible texts to introduce strategies

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  • There is a huge collection of materials on strategies on Blackboard. See especially the material on Parry and drug ads, Daily Show, CARS, Rifkin, etc.
  • You may want to use short, accessible texts to introduce strategies
  • Visual texts, pop culture texts, texts students are interested in or are already familiar with may be useful.
everyday texts
Everyday texts
  • One of my favorite texts = excerpts from The Daily Show - great rhetorical analysis.
  • Example – TDS & the rhetorical question. Explores leading question, the issue of framing, agency, responsibility, etc.
  • Newspaper headings, ads, music videos, comedy skits, email scams, etc.
telemarketing strategies script
Telemarketing Strategies Script
  • Pre-introduction: (Ask to speak to the decision-maker) Introduction: (Introduce yourself and the reason for your call) Attention Getter: (Mention the key features of the offer and qualify them for eligibility) Probing Questions: (Always ask for information that will be useful for rebuttals) Offer: (Explain the product/service and terms of commitment) Close: (ALWAYS ASK FOR THE SALE) Rebuttal (deal with objections)Sales Continuation: (Agree, use rebuttals, sell benefits, CLOSE) Up/down/cross-sell: (If there is another product of less-price this is the time to sell it.) Confirmation Close: (Review the terms of the offer to reduce buyer remorse) Final Close: (End on a positive note. Thank the customer and leave a dial free number for customer support)
producing strategies genre bending
Producing strategies: “genre bending”
  • You can combine analysis and production – make text that requires them to reflect on and justify their choices.
  • Rewrite newspaper article (e.g. horror movies and violence, “Blowing up an assumption”) as research paper (CARS model).
  • Have students rename, reframe, re-describe, and rework short texts for different audiences, genres, purposes, contexts, etc. (e.g. Katrina headlines)
  • Fun examples – remixing film shorts, remixing for political, satirical, artistic effect.
  • Can ask, what strategies drawn on to take existing material, re-order and make funny/politically effective, persuasive, etc.?
frames for talking about strategies
Frames for talking about strategies
  • Language as symbolic action: performance, positioning, persuasion, perspective, power, production (of texts and effects – getting things done)
  • Language as “choice,” selection, and framing: what is selected and from where; what is foregrounded, backgrounded, ignored; how is agency represented, which actors emphasized, what frame constructed, what is the scope of the issue, nature of the object, action or event, etc.
  • Language as moves, strategies and tactics in a conversational/persuasive game. Examples: rebuttal, counterargument, qualification, extension, complication, metadiscourse, etc.
  • Arrangement, organization, style and other formal features of a text (e.g. “style as strategy”)
Rhetorical strategy – a particular way in which writers craft language so as to have an effect on readers. Strategies are means of persuasion, ways of using language to get readers’ attention and agreement.
  • Rhetorical strategies are everywhere – every photo in a magazine, every commercial; politics, media, advertising, marketing, branding, movies, academic writing, workplace communication, people picking each other up in bars, etc. Wherever there is persuasion and communication. They are not always conscious.
  • When describing why a strategy is used, you may want to consider alternative strategies, and think about how they would work differently. You may also want to consider what would happen if the strategy were left out – what difference would it make to the argument? This may help you figure out why the particular strategy was chosen.
looking more closely at categories you ve already been using
Looking more closely at categories you’ve already been using
  • You’ve already been focusing on the strategic elements of texts and arguments.
  • Everything from evidence, organization, style, appeals to authority, the use of ethos, pathos, logos, etc. can be understood in strategic terms.
using visual texts to model verbal strategies
Using visual texts to model verbal strategies
  • You can use visual texts to model many of the basic moves and strategies identifiable in verbal texts.
  • For example, we can introduce concepts such as positioning, perspective, framing, point of view, etc.
  • Rose’s handout on visual texts is very useful.
One can focus on the macro or micro level of these analytic frames…it all depends on audience, context, genre, purpose and strategy (how you teach rhetorical strategies is itself rhetorical!)
  • Typically there is a kind of “dialectic” between big categories such as audience, context, genre, etc., and smaller ones such as word choice, vocabulary, definitions, etc. (as well as medium sized ones such as appeals to authority, principle, selection of evidence, etc.) There is also a relational quality to terms. We may start by focusing on rhetorical situation, then move back and forward between levels (given the audience and context, why has the author chosen to select this evidence and these authorities? Given that the author selects these words and categories, and makes these stylistic choices, what does that tell us about the genre?
However, if the context, audience, genre and purpose are familiar to students, we may decide to start from the bottom up, and engage in a kind of “micro-charting” before moving on to “macro-charting.” We could start small and move up through more general levels of the text’s rhetoric.
  • Framing is an example of a concept that could be used to move through levels – start with names, categories, definitions, tropes, and word choice, and then ascend to “higher” levels – metadiscourse, ethos, use of authorities and evidence, etc. These could then be related to the 4 analytic frames described previously.
self reflexive texts that foreground their own rhetorical strategies
“Self reflexive” texts that foreground their own rhetorical strategies
  • Example 1: “SubText”
  • Example 2: Rushkoff & the strategy of analyzing your own rhetorical strategies“Already you have been exposed to a battery of coercive techniques. In fact, everything you have read so far has been concocted to demonstrate the main techniques I'll be exposing in this book…”“I asked you to personalize the dilemma I had been describing. I asked you to consider the authorities in your own life that act upon you in unwanted ways so that you would personally identify with the threats to your well-being. You were no longer just reading about a problem; you were now in the middle of it…”
rushkoff continued
Rushkoff continued…
  • - “Once roped in, you could be subjected to standard fear-mongering.I personified the enemy as teams of psychologists, working late into the night to devise plans for shopping malls that thwart your natural cognitive processes…”- “What better time to establish my own expertise? I enumerated my qualifications--how I have spent years studying the coercive techniques of leading industry experts, and how I have written books on the effect of media on human consciousness… - After the tone had been set, I was free to engage you in one of the oldest coercive techniques of them all: the story. You were meant to identify with my plight--how my optimistic naïveté about media and culture led me into the clutches of the advertising industry, turning my own work against its purpose…”- “Then, just to avoid appearing too forceful, I briefly backed in the other direction. "It's not a conspiracy," I retreated, "just a science that has gotten out of control." ”
a healthcare marketer reflects on rhetorical strategies of branding a condition
A “healthcare marketer” reflects on rhetorical strategies of “branding a condition.”
  • “The idea behind “condition branding” is relatively simple: If you can define a particular condition and its associated symptoms in the minds of physicians and patients, you can also predicate the best treatment for that condition. This concept is by no means new. Warner-Lambert was looking for an opportunity to expand its market for Listerine in the 1920s. Although the product was being marketed for everything from dandruff to wound irrigation, sales were flat. Warner-Lambert found its answer by creating awareness – and anxiety – around a serious-sounding medical condition: halitosis. Whereas the harmless concept of unpleasant breath would not cause much of a stir, halitosis was demonized for a range of social casualties from lack of career advancement to divorce. As the antidote, Listerine saw sales increase from $100,000 to $4 million over the next 6 years, and helped make halitosis a household word.
“Healthcare marketers have taken this concept to new levels of sophistication in recent times. Today, the seeds must be sown in a complex landscape of audiences involving pharmaceutical companies, external thought leaders, support groups and consumers; and the effort must be coordinated with multiple communications agencies in the fields of branding, education and public relations.”
  • The 3 most common rhetorical strategies for “fostering the creation of a condition and aligning it with a product”:
    • Elevating the importance of an existing condition [Halitosis; GERD; Male pattern baldness]
    • Redefine an existing condition to reduce a stigma [ED; overactive bladder; “habit forming”]
    • Develop a new condition for an unmet market need [PMDD/Sarafem/prozac]
watson debates with himself how best to describe his rhetoric
Watson debates with himself how best to describe his rhetoric:
  • “Drawing on participant observation research carded out over a twelve-month period in a telecommunications development and manufacturing company, it will be argued in this paper that . . . Hang on. Why are you starting in this way: 'drawing on research . . . it will be argued?' Why can't you say 'Having gone to work in the management of this company for a year, I want to say . . . ?' This is a learned journal and one does not use the first person singular pronoun, and you have to establish your authority by showing that you have something new to say which is based on serious academic endeavour. You have got to establish your objectivity. You will not persuade your readers of anything if you just tell a story about what you did and what your personal, subjective and idiosyncratic interpretations of it all are. Do you honestly believe that you can create an objective scientific account of your so-called research work which is free from subjectivity and rhetoric? No, of course I don't. This paper is about how people use rhetoric all the time. The researcher sets out to demonstrate that . . . There you go again; 'the researcher . . . demonstrate'. You are simply using a particular rhetorical style to persuade the editors and referees of Organization Studies that they ought to let you tell your story in their august journal.” (“Rhetoric, discourse and argument in organizational sense making”)
Reflexivity and Metadiscourse can be connected to fictional texts such as Calvino’s If on Winter’s Night a Traveler, American Beauty, Fight Club, Platoon, etc.