By Sharon McKenzie Stevens
Explores the connection among social events and rhetorical conception and perform.
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Extra info for Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements
The ways in which such discourses take effect, however, are directly tied to a vernacular rhetoric’s interpretation by a particular discourse community as both meaningful and salient. Vernacular rhetoric, therefore, must presuppose some form of literacy; what is meaningful must be spoken and/or understood by a particular group in a particular way. At the level of participant discourse, social movements have precise habits of speaking that utilize a vernacular for understanding the reference world and framing meaningful identification with those in it.
As with most collections, these chapters offer readers the most insight when read in dialogue with one another. Rosteck’s analysis of Mills’s audience-evoking “Letter to the New Left,” Jackson and Miller’s rhetorical history of the progressive education movement, and Hauser and mcclellan’s call for more emphasis on the transformative power of vernacular voices challenge one another with their different emphases on leaders and the rank-and-file in movement formation. Amado-Miller breaks down these distinctions between the rhetoric of the powerful and that of the masses by chronicling the spaces for dialogue created when advocates for change co-opt the language and logic of those against it.
And just as communities for social change continue to overlap, learn from one another, and draw power from this process, so must communities of scholars who study them. Throughout this chapter, as an introduction to the philosophy of the collection as a whole, we have highlighted, complicated, and sought to reshape dialectics of discourse and action, theory and practice, publics and private, politics and culture, recipiency and agency, and others. We have done so to dissolve other distinctions—namely, those that create wedges between disciplines and disciplinary knowledge, those that isolate classroom praxis from scholarly inquiry, and those that obscure intersections between the various roles we occupy as activist intellectuals.
Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements by Sharon McKenzie Stevens