ERIC Number: ED185604
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Justificatory Rhetoric and Institutional Legitimation: A Case Study.
To widen the concept of justificatory rhetoric (which has previously been considered as a presidential rhetorical form delivered in a context of foreign policy emergency) and to show some of its inherent hazards, this paper analyzes a 1978 address by Governor James Hunt of North Carolina, in which he justified his decision not to pardon the demonstrators known as the Wilmington Ten but instead to reduce some of their prison sentences. The paper begins by explaining the Wilmington Ten case and the circumstances that led to Hunt's decision to take executive action in it. It then outlines characteristics of justificatory rhetoric--it justifies an action already taken or in progress, it takes place in a context demanding immediate action, the crisis situation is removed in space from those asked to accept the justification, the action is based on little information and contemplation, and its themes are based on the themes of free world leadership and antagonism to Communism--and shows how Hunt's address represents a domestic version of the presidential justificatory form. Finally, the paper considers Hunt's purpose as expressed in the address, shows that his strategic approach was to defend the mechanism of government and the judiciary from outside attack, and assesses Hunt's strategy as one that steered toward the solution of the legitimation crisis in a self-serving way. (GT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Justificatory Rhetoric
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Birmingham, AL, April 8-11, 1980).