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ERIC Number: ED409560
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 41
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rhetoric and Social Change.
Bizzell, Patricia
This paper contends that rhetoric is a force for social change. It also contends that the study of persuasive discourse--how it works, what gives it force--is rhetoric. Pointing out that in the past "persuasive discourse" has meant public discourse of various kinds but that nowadays scholars usually expand the category to include virtually all forms of communication, including letters and diaries, the paper finds that the study of rhetoric, then, may be said to contribute to social change. It argues that writing teachers should reconceive what they do as the teaching of rhetoric, not only of composition. The paper states this may be controversial because the compositionist mode of approaching writing instruction is to offer students an ever-increasing variety of skills and abilities (i.e., writing correctly, organizing logically, adapting sensitively to discourse community conventions). The paper contends that the rhetorical way of approaching instruction in language use may be called holistic; writing skills are put in the service of a larger project--to enable people to be active participants in the discourses of their society. The paper also considers whether the American social context is really in such disarray that any project of identifying significant values and multiple cultural contents for use in persuasion is doomed; illustrates this kind of multicultural persuasive power by analysis of some texts produced by Japanese Americans in response to their internment during World War II; and discusses how to help students develop this kind of persuasive power. (Contains 17 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A