ERIC Number: ED340055
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-2
Reference Count: N/A
Identification and Consubstantiation in the 1988 California Primary Campaign Rhetoric of Jesse Jackson: A Burkeian Approach.
Porter, Laurinda W.
In 1988, Jesse Jackson was the second most successful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, finishing behind Michael Dukakis. While Jackson displayed extraordinary rhetorical talent and articulated a view of America unlike that of other candidates, little scholarly attention has been paid to his rhetoric. Examination of four of Jackson's speeches delivered during the 1988 California primary campaign reveal a strategy of creating identification with audiences. Such a strategy reflects Kenneth Burke's theory of rhetoric as symbolic action. Jackson is capable of assessing an audience and adapting his topic choice quickly to that group. The candidate's use of nonverbal elements as signs of character that an audience respects mirror Burke's notion of "conduct" that an audience finds "admirable." In his speeches, Jackson delivered a message about the need for change and ways to achieve it. Jackson presented themes consistently, but altered topics and presentation methods to suit the audience before him. In the end, Jackson received 32 percent of the California primary vote, compared to Dukakis' 68 percent. Jackson's rhetorical talents, including especially his ability to create identity with audiences, contributed to his 1988 successes. He achieved his goal of transforming audiences and helping them see the power they possessed. (Twenty-eight references are attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Burke (Kenneth); California; Jackson (Jesse); Presidential Primaries
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (77th, Atlanta, GA, October 31-November 3, 1991).