Instead of a list of quotations, I’d rather us think about arguments and try to use examples outside of Knoblauch’s book to think broadly about commitments to truth. Rhetorical analysis, in my definition, means explaining how meaning is embedded in a text (I would also extend that to “discourse” very broadly). However, I privilege a critical lens that requires cultural awareness to understand motivations for believing something. How does Knoblauch help us consider not just structure of arguments but one’s commitment to a conclusion?
Consider this passage (which is the same passage for your weekly reflection):
Reading different accounts of the nature and value of discourse doesn’t in itself make us better language users….But it can enlarge our knowledge of discursive ideologies–those political no less than intellectual commitments that motivate people, including ourselves, to use language in particular ways, react differently to the language uses of others, and draw different conclusions about the authority, value, or significance of language acts. (Knoblauch, p. 10)
Ch. 1: The Meaning of Meaning
I have a feeling this was his “Introduction” and it got longer and longer with revision, so it became chapter 1. It sets up the book’s argument and previews the six (6) rhetorical stories we use for meaning making.
- p. 11: On naming…
- “Naming–or representation–is one of the most familiar and important acts that language enables us to perform, and it is usually routine since most names enjoy broad social agreement.”
- “…words point to worlds outside of language, sometimes contending that words constitute worlds inside the mind.”
- Let’s consider contested names
- freedom fighter
Ch. 2: Magical Rhetoric
- p. 26: “Magical rhetoric…refers to the discourse of the sacred, a theory and practice of language conditioned by the assumption that the world is” created by a divine being.
Ch. 3: Ontological Rhetoric
- p. 51: Ontological rhetoric deals with the nature of being and privileges the view that “language derives its power to signify from its relationship to an intrinsically and purposefully ordered, that is, teleological, exteriority.”
- Consider the expression “it is what it is…”
Arguments to Consider
What can we say about this response a voter has when she learns about Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality.
Conviction comes from essentialist perspectives and, in turn, reinforces essentialism. There is a circular “nature” to ontological rhetoric.
Your Mini-Rhetorical Analyses are due next week (2/24). Remember, aim to be more thorough on a smaller piece (therefore, select a shorter passage or segment) than to gloss over a larger piece. Also, Beth will lead the class discussion on Descartes’ Discourse on Method. We’ll leave the ancient world and get modern!
Don’t forget to read the Les Miserables passages.