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ERIC Number: ED406697
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov-26
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Activist Communication Pedagogy and the Learning Curve of "New Social Movements."
Mitchell, Gordon
Calling for redoubled emphasis on the performative and political dimensions of rhetorical study, some scholars recommend an "activist turn" in rhetorical criticism. In the context of the study of social movements, an engaged and active stance can enable critics to become direct participants in the field of social action. The promise of a retooled, outward-oriented critical stance for the rhetorical study of social movements can best grow out of a learning process that places an emphasis on reflexivity, performativity, and transformative engagement with other actors. Collective rhetorical efforts to persuade others of the rightness of a given viewpoint not only impact the audience, but also can have important effects on the speakers themselves. Among various strategies rhetorical critics could undertake are: (1) they could intervene in the field of social action in an attempt to catalyze conversion of defensive collective struggles into full-blown new social movements; (2) they could counter a surging social movement by contributing inventional resources to establish institutions locked in dialectical enjoinment with movement protesters; and (3) they might enter the field of social action as a nonpartisan mediator seeking to unhinge a movement-establishment controversy at loggerheads. Through dialogue between agitator and analyst camps, students could reflect upon and build their intellectual identities; negotiate appropriate goals of action; and invent novel strategies for using rhetorical practice to transform selected political terrain. (Contains 16 notes and 34 references; a sample protest petition and a course description are appended.) (CR)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A