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ERIC Number: ED186962
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Systems Theory as an Historiographic Perspective.
Skopec, Eric Wm.
Important in the study of rhetorical history, systems theory advocates the reading of rhetorical works in their original climates, employing a macroscopic perspective and defining research problems with reference to rhetorical systems, including the rhetoric embodied in the treatise as well as in other treatises of the place or period. The total intellectual, cultural, and sociopolitical environment serves as the explanatory context. Among the values of the perspective are that it views the rhetoric of earlier ages in their own right without imposing alien concerns from another era; it cautions against efforts to recall classical doctrines in attempts to solve contemporary problems; and it directs attention to phenomena which might otherwise have escaped notice, such as the changing meanings of technical terms. Reservations concerning the use of systems theory as an historiographic perspective include the following: it would not be viewed as an exclusive frame for research; there is an unfortunate tendency to confuse theory and practice under the guise of pluralism; and some aspects of systems theory require considerably more precise definition. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association (71st, Ocean City, MD, April 24-26, 1980).