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Transcript of Burkean Identification
Known principally as a scholar of Literature.
His work is diverse and almost defies summary.
His most influential work is A Rhetoric of Motives
http://www.comm.umn.edu/burke/ "...sometimes a quirky writer." - George Kennedy Burke's Fundational Ideas: Rhetoric makes human unity possible
Language use is symbolic action
Rhetoric is symbolic inducement RHETORIC Life is a drama complete with plot and actors. Actors persuade us to act in certain ways. Their main method of persuasion is Identification. IDENTIFICATION "You persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his."
- Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives "Identification is armed with earnestness precisely because there is division. Identification is compensatory to division. If men were not apart from one another, there would be no need for the rhetorician to proclaim their unity. If men were wholly and truly of one substance, absolute communication would be of man's very essence." - Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives
Rhetoric is needed for man to find common meaning, unifying symbols, and ways of acting together, and thus promoting cooperation. Rhetoric’s goal is to bring together individuals separated from one another by alienation and competition. The President uses "we" and "our" to identify with his audience. Because of this, he is able to persuade the world that everything will be stable. ". . .is the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols."
Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives Man is an animal that responds to symbols and language makes us feel a part of one thing and separate from another. Identification is a supplement to persuasion.
Burke might say that identification replaces persuasion. According to Burke Burke draws a line between identification and alienation.
Identification creates an "us" and, necessarily, also creates a "them."
Both "us" and "them" work as identification devices: a speaker can become one of "us" through consubstantiality or he can appeal to "us" by alienating "them." Burke defines persuasion as identification. We persuade our audience to identify with us, to be one with us. We use language put identification into affect. We must identify with the action we are advocating. "Good morning. Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. Mankind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it's fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live, to exist�and should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive.' Today we celebrate our independence day!" Types of Identification Concretization Rhetoric of materialism; objectifies and solidifies a group of people. Localization Rhetoric of nationalism; geographic position and place identify a group of people. Identification and Consubstantiality Identifying with another through shared interests. Although two can be consubstantial, they still retain their unique substance. Thus, one can be joined and separate. "I address you tonight not as the President of the United States, not as the leader of a country, but as a citizen of humanity. We are faced with the very gravest of challenges. The Bible calls this day "Armageddon"-the end of all things. And yet, for the first time in the history of the planet, a species has the technology to prevent its own extinction. All of you praying with us need to know that everything that can be done to prevent this disaster is being called into service.
The human thirst for excellence, knowledge, every step up the ladder of science, every adventurous reach into space, all of our combined modern technologies and imaginations, even the wars that we've fought have provided us the tools to wage this terrible battle. Through all the chaos that is our history, through all of the wrong and the discord, through all of the pain and suffering, through all of our times, there is one thing that has nourished our souls, and elevated our species above its origins, and that is our courage.
The dreams of an entire planet are focused tonight on those fourteen brave souls traveling into the heavens. And may we all, citizens the world over, see these events through. God speed, and good luck to you." Identification and Property Things are identified by their properties. Rhetorical identification refers to property as material. "But put identification and division ambiguously together, so that you cannot know for certain just where one ends and the other begins, and you have the characteristic invitation to rhetoric."
-Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives Identification and the "Autonomous" “Any specialized activity participates in a larger unit of action. 'Identification' is a word for the autonomous activity’s place in this wider context, a place which the agent may be unconcerned."
-Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives Identification can be seen as the way in which specialized activities occupy rather than transcend or escape, larger contexts. An example of a form of autonomous identification is textual analysis; it avoids historicization and the subordination of a text to its background. Works Cited:
Bradley University. Introduction to Kenneth Burke. 5 April 2011 <http://bradley.bradley.edu/~ell/burke.html>.
Burke, Kenneth. A Rhetoric of Motives. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969.
Herrick, James A. The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction, 3rd ed. Boston: Pearson Education, 2005.
Department of Communications at University of Minnesota. Resources on Kenneth Burke. 5 May 2009. 5 April 2011 <http://www.comm.umn.edu/burke/>. Created By: