Addressing Postmodernity: Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and a by Barbara A. Biesecker

By Barbara A. Biesecker

Addressing Postmodernity examines the connection among rhetoric and social switch and the methods people remodel social kinfolk during the useful use of symbols. via an in depth examining of Kenneth Burke's significant works, A Grammar of reasons, A Rhetoric of causes, and The Rhetoric of faith: reviews in Logology, Barbara Biesecker addresses the severe subject of the fragmentation of the modern lifeworld. In revealing the total diversity of Burke's contribution to the opportunity of social swap, Biesecker offers an unique interpretation of Burke's most vital principles. Addressing Postmodernity can have a massive impression on Burkeian scholarship and at the rhetorical critique of social family members in general.

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Extra resources for Addressing Postmodernity: Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and a Theory of Social Change (Studies in Rhetoric and Communication)

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S. Copyright law is illegal and injures the author and publisher. For permission to reuse this work, contact the University of Alabama Press. approach to Burke will not sit well with a great many scholars who will diagnose my approach as a sign of clandestine disrespect for the father of modern rhetoric or perhaps even as a symptom of failure on my part to appreciate the delicate workings of a mind whose capacities far outstrip my own. In anticipation of such charges I simply say that I only demand of Burke what he always demanded of others: that we engage in persistent critique, that we refuse to forget that it is always "more complicated than that" (1970, 277).

Third, the method is given a name, "dramatism," and, finally, a casuistry is chosen, the discourses that constitute the history of Western philosophy. However, in addition to presenting a methodological tool by means of which critics can uncover the motivational loci of symbolic forms, the Grammar is also a book that records its author's attempt to come to terms with precisely that which Burke's critical method precomprehends: motive understood in a more originary sense than its particular determinations-as the essence of being human.

The point of this somewhat lengthy digression has been to illustrate the way in which the "paradox of substance" serves as the methodological trick by means of which Burke is able to rewrite an implicitly ontological inquiry as an epistemological one. Not only does the paradox of substance enable Burke to focus simply on the text or act since scene (that which is, properly speaking, outside the act) is incorporated within it, but it also enables him to inquire into "the ultimate ground of motives" by grammatically analyzing specifically verbal acts since what is represented or represents itself in symbolic action is a negotiation within an always and already divided agent.

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