ERIC Number: ED346479
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
The Rhetoric of Real Experience: Case Studies and the Representation of the Human Subject.
Case study rhetoric, or the rhetoric of real experience, is concerned with the ways by which case studies appeal to their own intrinsic realness or authenticity. On the surface, case studies are often accepted fully as representing real experience. But the design, arrangement, and emphases of case studies are rhetorically constructed by the writer in order to present a sense of realness. Successful case studies tend to utilize three features which tend to make them more lifelike: surprise, embarrassment, and social difference. A case study without any surprise seems pretty unreal, yet the inclusion of surprise in a written piece always points toward artistry and arrangement. The contrivance of the order of events, for example, makes the story less real to historical experience, but makes the case study seem more real. Embarrassment between teacher and student is also a staple of teaching, and reinforces the realness of a case study by giving a sense of the inexplicable. The issue of embarrassment can be complicated by differences in social background between teacher and student, the third feature. However, by writing about subjects very different from themselves, writers are in fact reflecting their points of view. The true subject of a case study, in fact, is not the student but the teacher, whose act of understanding has been rhetorically reconstructed. Thus, case studies are valuable because they faithfully represent how teachers make sense of the experience of teaching. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).