By Barbara A. Biesecker

ISBN-10: 0817308741

ISBN-13: 9780817308742

Addressing Postmodernity examines the connection among rhetoric and social switch and the methods people remodel social family in the course of the functional use of symbols. via an in depth examining of Kenneth Burke's significant works, A Grammar of reasons, A Rhetoric of factors, and The Rhetoric of faith: reports in Logology, Barbara Biesecker addresses the serious subject of the fragmentation of the modern lifeworld. In revealing the total diversity of Burke's contribution to the potential for social swap, Biesecker offers an unique interpretation of Burke's most vital principles. Addressing Postmodernity may have a huge effect on Burkeian scholarship and at the rhetorical critique of social kinfolk in general.

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

Sample text

Action, Burke tells us, is "a causa sui" (66): as "an ingredient of every human act," it marks "some measure of motivation that cannot be explained simply in terms of the past, being to an extent, however tiny, a new thing" (65). 1 As I noted above, it is generally believed that this distinction between action and motion, between things that move and persons who act, structurally and axiologically determines Burke's approach to human motivation. 2 Indeed, most critics argue that the action/motion binary is the pivotal conceptual distinction out of which Burke later develops an ontology whose contribution lies in the possibility 26 / Addressing Postmodernity You are reading copyrighted material published by the University of Alabama Press.

Not, of course, an arbitrary move on his part: the nature of his project demands it. He explains at some length: In our original plans for this project, we had no notion of writing a "Grammar" at all. We began with a theory of comedy, applied to a treatise on human relations. Feeling that competitive ambition is a drastically over-developed motive in the modern world, we thought this motive might be transcended if men devoted themselves not so much to "excoriating" it as to "appreciating" it. " We sought to formulate the basic stratagems which people employ, in endless variations, and consciously or unconsciously, for the outwitting or cajoling of one another.

Xix-xx) Given that U[e]ven before we know what act is to be discussed, we can say with confidence that a rounded discussion of its motives must contain a reference to some kind of background" (xix), it is imperative that Burke redefine scene as a grammatical category. Mobilizing Ibsen's An Enemy of the People in order to substantiate the grammaticalization of context, he explicates the scene-act ratio: From the motivational point of view, there is implicit in the quality of a scene [context] the quality of the action that is to take place within it.

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Addressing Postmodernity: Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, and a Theory of Social Change (Studies in Rhetoric and Communication) by Barbara A. Biesecker


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