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ERIC Number: ED363897
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Apr-10
Pages: 34
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"We Shall Overcome": Ontology and Rhetoric.
Cooper, Martha; Burns, Gary
The particular way in which songs (and especially the songs of social movements) accumulate persuasive force has been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. This paper investigates the rhetorical power of the popular musical text, "We Shall Overcome," arguing that the song endures as an almost expected rhetorical feature of any social movement concerned with civil rights. The paper suggests that "We Shall Overcome" is a unique song of persuasion in that it demonstrates the ontological force of rhetoric: the song empowers rhetors and audiences alike through the enactment of an open text. Following a brief discussion that describes the evolution of the text through multiple contexts, the paper elaborates the argument by examining three rhetorical characteristics of the song: (1) the song as an open text; (2) the participatory nature of this unique form (singing) of rhetoric; and (3) the quasi-religious lyrical theme and the quasi-ritualistic nature of the song's performance. The paper concludes with an explanation of the ways in which the song empowers its rhetors and audiences in light of the connection between rhetoric and ontology. (Contains 46 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A