Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements - download pdf or read online
By Sharon McKenzie Stevens
Explores the connection among social routine and rhetorical thought and perform.
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Additional info for Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements
It also excludes those who do not understand from participating in the discourse community that defines their dissident social imaginary. This poses a problem of translation and, ultimately, transformation. If different discourse communities are not able to understand one another’s vernacular rhetoric, an “official” discourse is able to position itself as continually oppositional but never displaceable. Alternative (often vernacular) discourses are not able to transform themselves into the “official” unless those who employ “official” rhetoric choose to adopt instances of a community’s vernacular rhetoric into their own.
Voting (or expressing one’s opinion) serves as the method to settle questions of contingency on which opinions differ. And the expectation that the majority will prevail ensures that its opinion will matter in setting public policy and state action. In this way, the apparent fairness of permitting all a voice and vote and of guaranteeing majority rule secures citizens against the rule of autocrats and subjugation by an authoritarian state. This is a powerful story. It appeals to the cultural biases of free citizens because its narrative portrays a world in which they can chart their own destiny.
Insofar as dramaturgy can force a wedge between the naturalization of the symbolic, it can perform an unmasking function that rearranges the prevailing social structure from a seamless and consistent rhetoric of power into currents of competing discourses laying claim to historicity. These competing claims that challenge a view of the social field as always already determined lie at the core of social movements. These competing rhetorics are manifestations of the ongoing conflict through which society produces itself.
Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements by Sharon McKenzie Stevens