ERIC Number: ED270747
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Perelman's "Universal Audience" and Writing.
Discussions of audience, such as those by Russell Long, Carol Berkenkotter, David Park, Lisa Ede, and Andrea Lunsford, most often do not utilize the research by speech rhetoricians to whom the question of audience has always been central. Chaim Perelman's conception of the "universal audience" and traditional, speech-oriented rhetoric may enhance understanding of the writer-reader relationship. Classical rhetoricians think of audience as a group of listeners convened for a certain purpose, infused with certain expectations, and therefore vulnerable to skillful choices of persuasive means by rhetoricians; this view flourishes in speech communications departments. In contrast, writing theorists claim that though writers habitually form some controlling picture of their readers, few hold consistently to the same reader-image, at the same level of intensity, throughout the composing process. The reader as audience is partly fiction, a construct of the writer and the text. Similarly, the universal audience can be interpreted as every rational being; this audience can only exist as a conception of the writer. Perelman develops the concept of universal audience only into a philosophical formulation, but it could become a workable rhetorical tool. (SRT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness; Author Reader Relationship; Universal Audience
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (37th, New Orleans, LA, March 13-15, 1986).