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Prospectus: Mapping Rhetorical Situation

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Ramesh Pokharel

on 28 November 2012

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Transcript of Prospectus: Mapping Rhetorical Situation

Philosophical inquiry on rhetorical situation, which is going to be the major part in my dissertation, in which I will account for, frame, critique and analyze the fundamental assumptions and beliefs on the rhetorical situations, and finally propose a theory that extends the existing notion of rhetorical situation, and thus expresses the changed/changing meaning given the impact new media and technology.
Rhetorical inquiry as a methodological frame . The process of rhetorical inquiry follows these steps: 1.Identifying a motivating concern; 2. Posing questions; 3. Engaging in heuristic search; 4. Creating a new theory or hypotheses; and 5. Justifying the theory (Lauer & Asher, 1998, p. 5). The historical methodologies as discussed in “Octalog” and “Octalog II.”
Bring in the notions of rhetorical history as a social responsibility (Connors, 1988; Crowley, 1988; Lauer, 1997), as a rhetorical enterprise (Schiappa, 1997; Johnson, 1988,), as an archaeological activity (Ferreira-Buckley, 1997; Johnson, 1988; Enos, 1988), and as a deconstructive approach (Berlin, 1988; Vitanza, 1988; Jarrat, 1988; Ferreira-Buckley, 1997).
To map out the notions rhetorical situation that will function as a springboard to argue for an exigence of a new theory on rhetorical situation. I argue that this confining tendency of existing theories of these scholars has potential to make it stagnant that will not incorporate the changed/changing situation, and thus makes the picture “incomplete.”
Rhetorical situation, to me, is a complex thing, not discretely born, rather linked with discursive formation and indeterminate relation because it could be better understood as multiple and plural entity as it fosters indeterminate and various responses.
Rhetorical situation as a subjective phenomenon involves a plurality of exigencies and complex relations between the audience and rhetorician’s interest, thereby making it more interactive with other elements of the situation. Broadly speaking, rhetorical situation means the circumstances in which a communicative activity takes place.
It includes the writer, the audience, the purpose, the topic, the medium or the context or culture in which a writer writes.
Writer’s age, culture, personal characteristics and interest, experiences, gender, location, political beliefs, parents and peers, education and the background.
Likewise, the reason for writing, genre, topic, context (situation that generates the need for writing), and audience also affect writing. All these phenomena are rhetorical situation. I will discuss the justification of my theory and its significance for scholars, teachers, and students in the discipline of Rhetoric and Writing Studies.
Second primary question: what does the way the concept of rhetorical situation and its naming permutations has been characterized indicate for the discipline of RWS? Chapter VI: Justification and Significance of the New Theory in RWS
By borrowing the terminologies from, Cooper (1986), Phelps (1988), Edbauer (2005), and Foster (2007), I will propose a new theory of rhetorical situations as trans-situational, networked ecologies. My theory will not only address the exigence for a new stance, but also hopefully contribute to direct our discipline with new insight.
I will offer a theory of rhetorical situation that has more explanatory power than any current theory presently available.
Inquiry question: What needs to be theorized, relative to rhetorical situation, to make it a viable concept for our contemporary moment? Chapter V: Rhetorical Situations as Trans-situational Networked Ecologies Theoretical discussion to lay a foundation for suggesting a new theory of rhetorical situation.
Define new media and technology, and discuss how it has changed the notions of rhetorical situation.
I will discuss the connection between language and rhetoric, rhetor and audience, reality, space/place by bringing in the theories of critical geography (Soja, 1980, 1987, 1996; Sack 1986, 1993; Sibley 1995; Auge, 1995; Dehaney, 2005), technology theory (Bolter, 1991; Johnson‐Eilola, 1997, 2005; Johnson, 1998; Kress, 1999, 2003;Feenberg, 2002; and Morville, 2005), and rhetoric and language theory (Nietzsche, 1989, Berlin, 1992, 2003, Schleifer, 1990, Bruffee, 1986: Schiappa, 2003; Faigley, 1989, 1992;)
Third inquiry question: how does the emergence of new media and technology compel the revision of our notions of the rhetorical situation? Chapter IV: Analyzing Theories of Rhetorical Situation Build background that functions as a springboard to study the new stance on rhetorical situation
In the period of 1968-2012, how has the concept of rhetorical situation and its various naming permutations been variously characterized?
And the inquiry questions to answer this primary research question will be: What are the theories of rhetorical situation from 1968-1995 (Chapter II), and 1996-2012 (Chapter III)? Do any of these theories accurately represent the complexity of our contemporary moment?
Engage in postmodern mapping. In this connection, I will study scholarship about rhetorical situation that is commonly used by scholars in Rhetoric and Writing Studies.
Revisit and question the past to ensure that we are not working with faulty assumptions. I will study how a theory of rhetorical situation changes in response to the reality (ies) it seeks to describe. Chapter II and III I will also use other theories that define the connection between language and rhetoric, rhetor and audience, space/place, reality, and identity.
I will bring in the theories of critical geography (Soja, 1980, 1987, 1996; Sack 1986, 1993; Sibley 1995; Auge, 1995; Dehaney, 2005), technology theory (Bolter, 1991; Johnson‐Eilola, 1997, 2005; Johnson, 1998; Kress, 1999, 2003;Feenberg, 2002; and Morville, 2005),rhetoric and language theory (Nietzsche, 1989, Berlin, 1992, 2003, Schleifer, 1990, Bruffee, 1986: Schiappa, 2003; Faigley, 1989, 1992). Various Theories Postmodern theory as a fundamental tool: provides me a broad theoretical lens to study how signifying systems organize the self, society and everyday life, and how knowledge is always contingent, partial and situated, and thus, particularly, how the notion of rhetorical situation is plural and fluid. I will explore this notion in examining the relationships between/among the constituents of rhetorical situation that are reshaped by new media and technology.
Michel Foucault’s (1972) theoretical approach as discussed in The Archaeology of Knowledge in general and his notion of “Discursive Formations” in particular to map the relations between the constituents of rhetorical situation.
The constituents of the rhetorical situation not distinct watertight compartments, but a relational discursive formation.
Foucault’s asserts “[w]e must question those ready-made syntheses, those groupings that we normally accept before any examination, those links whose validity is recognized from the outset” (p. 22)
Question those divisions or groupings of the constituents of rhetorical situation. Postmodern Theoretical Framework Bibliographic research as discussed by Stephen North (1987).
I will use one of North’s “modes of inquiry” that of “scholars.”
To map rhetorical situation, I will engage in an historical and theoretical mapping. Historical inquiry, as North (1987) says, has two stages—the empirical and the interpretive. As per this inquiry, I would first collect their assumptions about rhetorical situation, and then on the interpretive stage, I would create a narrative on it. Methodology With the advent of new media and technology, the notion of rhetorical situation also has changed. For example, new media and technology has broken the traditional relation between the writer, audience, exigence, and constraints, and has blurred the division among them to some extent.
In this context, I believe the existing modernist notion of rhetorical situation does not fully express the changed meaning. Consequently, it limits the scope and understanding of rhetorical situation because this confining tendency is likely to make the notion of rhetorical situation stagnant that will not incorporate the changed/changing situation thereby giving only “incomplete” picture.
I propose a new stance to look at the notion of rhetorical situation in order to fit into the changed situation by researching the concept of rhetorical situation and how it has changed over time, particularly given the impact of new media and technology. What I propose? These gaps in our scholarship lead me to my broad and fundamental question of inquiry regarding rhetorical situation:
In the period of 1968-2012, how has the concept of rhetorical situation and its various naming permutations been variously characterized and what does this indicate for the discipline of Rhetoric and Writing Studies? Moreover, how does the emergence of new media and technology compel the revision of our notions of the rhetorical situation? Questions of Inquiry Bitzter (1968), Miller (1772), Jamieson (1973), Jamieson (1975), Patton (1979), Kneupper (1980), and Grant-Davie (1997) tend to define rhetorical situations as something “real” or “genuine” based on historic reality. For them, events are inherently meaningful, objectively real, and so are the rhetorical situations.
I believe that this modernist containment to perceive the rhetorical situation can be detrimental to understanding it in broader sense as it cannot capture the changed meaning that naturally exists with the impact of new media and technology, consequently limiting the scope of the rhetorical situation. My position A full-fledged theory of rhetorical situation initiated by Bitzer’s (1968) The Rhetorical Situation, followed by the consecutive shower of theories that reassert, (re)examine, and contend with Bitzer’s model, lay the strong foundation for theories of rhetorical situation that make the rhetorical theory rich with the notions of rhetorical situation. Bitzer’s contribution kairos --Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian and others.
The ancient Greeks use kairos in a more or less similar sense of how rhetorical situation is used nowadays.
Sipiora (2002): “kairos carried a number of meanings in classical rhetorical theory and history, including ‘symmetry,’ ‘propriety,’ ‘occasion,’ ‘due measure,’ ‘fitness,’ ‘tact,’ ‘decorum,’ ‘convenience,’ ‘proportion,’ ‘fruit,’ ‘profit,’ and ‘wise moderation,’ to mention some of the more common uses. (p.1)
An underlying sense of kairos is “the right or opportune time to do something or right measure in doing something” (Kinneavy, 2002, p. 58) What is Rhetorical Situation? A Research Prospectus
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Ramesh Pokharel Mapping Rhetorical Situation: 1968-2012
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