Theories and Movements

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This page discusses key rhetorical movements and the theories associated with those movements.


Cognitive Rhetoric

Cognitive Rhetoric


Richard Weaver, 1910-1963: man's nature is fourfold (rational, emotional, ethical, religious), God and Devil Terms, Noble Rhetoric, Anti-Nominalism

Emerging Media

Video Games

Ian Bogost: the Rhetoric of Video Games

Digital Rhetoric

Digital Satire

Feminist Criticism

Celeste Condit, author of "Post-Burke: Transcending the Sub-Stance of Dramatism" (1992).

Phyllis M. Japp, author of “Can This Marriage Be Saved? Reclaiming Burke for Feminist Scholarship" from Kenneth Burke and the 21st Century (1999).

Literary Criticism

I. A. Richards, 1893-1979: father of New Criticism

New Rhetorics

Donald C. Bryant, 1905-1987: definitions of rhetoric

Kenneth Burke, 1897-1993: Dramatistic Pentad (act, scene, agent, agency, purpose), Definition of Man as symbol-using animal

Chaim Perelman, 1912-1984: New Rhetorics

Pedagogical Studies

More a movement than a single theory, these authors have examined the way we teach rhetoric, composition, and research. The pedagogical movements listed here draw heavily from the principles of cognitive rhetoric, calling for an in-depth study of the processes of writing and research. These pedagogical models all hold that the subject matter in question, be it composition, research, or rhetorical practices, can be taught, codified, and improved upon with careful practice and consideration. They further maintain that the basic survey courses offered (think Composition I) do not adequately convey the techne required to master the subject at hand.

Douglas Downs, b. : Teaching About Writing

Lisa S. Ede, b. 1947: Distinctions Between Classical and Modern Rhetoric

Doug Eyman, b. : Multifaceted Methods for Multimodal Texts

Andrea A. Lunsford, b. 1942: Distinctions Between Classical and Modern Rhetoric

Richard Ohmann, b. 1931: In Lieu of a New Rhetoric

Rebecca Rickly, b. : Messy Contextx: Research as a Rhetorical Situation

Colleen Reilly, b. : Multifaceted Methods for Multimodal Texts

Elizabeth Wardle, b. : Teaching About Writing



Michel Foucault, 1926-1984: author-function

Rogerian Rhetoric

Rogerian Argument

Rogerian rhetoric is derived from the theories of Carl Rogers. Rogers originally developed his ideas as a method of therapy that was centered around understanding the person being treated. Initially called non-directive therapy, this system became the foundation for Rogers' broader ideas of the self and learning. These ideas have been applied across disciplines, heavily influencing one branch of rhetorical studies.

Rogerian rhetoric then, is the idea that persuasion is most effective when the positions on all side of the argument are understood, and a connection is made between the people involved. Terms such as non-combative and person-centered are some of the theory's watch-words.

Rogerian rhetoric typically consists of 4 main stages:

  1. An introduction to the problem and a demonstration that the opponent's position is understood.
  2. A statement of the contexts in which the opponent's position may be valid.
  3. A statement of the writer's position, including the contexts in which it is valid.
  4. A statement of how the opponent's position would benefit if he were to adopt elements of the writer's position. If the writer can show that the positions complement each other, that each supplies what the other lacks, so much the better (Brent)

Douglas Brent: Rogerian Rhetoric as an alternative to Traditional Rhetoric

Jim W. Corder, 1929-1998: argument as emergence toward the other

See Also:

Carl Rogers



Originally developed by Ferdinand de Saussure as a part of the framework for structural linguistics, Semiotics is the field of study devoted to sign and communication. Semiotics holds that meaning is created and conveyed through linguistic sign. Related works examine the relationship between signified and signifier, how signs fit into larger works, and how signs influence and change the people that use them.

Mikhail Bakhtin, 1895-1975: Polyphony, Unfinalizability, Carnival and Grotesque, Chronotope, Heteroglossia ("The Dialogic Imagination"), Speech genres

Roland Barthes, 1915-1980: author and scriptor, neutral and novelistic writing

Ferdinand de Saussure, 1857-1913: signified and signifier are core of semiotics

See also: Bzzzpeek


From Wikipedia, "Sophism"

"Sophism in the modern definition is a specious argument used for deceiving someone. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. The practice of charging money for education and providing wisdom only to those who could pay led to the condemnations made by Socrates, through Plato in his Dialogues, as well as Xenophon's Memorabilia. Through works such as these, Sophists were portrayed as "specious" or "deceptive," hence the modern meaning of the term."

See Also:

Writing and Technology

Dennis Baron, b. 1944:

Cynthia L. Selfe: Influential Role in "Computers in the Composition Classroom"

Richard J. Selfe Jr.: Computer Interface as Representation of Oppression of Diverse Cultures



Stephen Toulmin, 1922-2009: Toulmin Model of Argument

Robert L. Scott, b. 1928: Epistemic Rhetoric

S. Michael Halloran, b. 1939: Rhetoric in Existentialist Literature

John M. Slatin:

Kathleen Blake Yancey:

Johndan Johnson-Eilola:

John Logie:

Sean D. Williams:

Steven Fraiberg:

Sorapure et al.?

Palmquist et al.?

Bill Hart-Davidson and Steven D. Krause:




Rhetoric and Democratic Theory

Portal:Democratic Theory

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