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2.1: Rhetorical Criticism

  • Page ID
    118387
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    Learning Objectives

    After reading this chapter you should be able to:

    • Define rhetoric.
    • Identify key features of classical rhetorical theory.
    • Identify the challenges that contemporary theorists are making to the study of rhetoric.
    • Define rhetorical criticism.
    • Explain the purpose and uses of rhetorical criticism.
    • Explain the different models of rhetorical criticism.
    • Understand how rhetorical theory and criticism are a current part of the communication discipline.

    In this chapter devoted to rhetorical theory and criticism, we will explore both of these separate but related fields of inquiry, briefly map out their history, discuss some of the major rhetorical theories and methods of doing rhetorical criticism, and finally, explain how this specialization contributes to the larger discipline of Communication. But, before going any further, let’s begin by highlighting the definitional and historical debate so we may begin with a common understanding of the term, “rhetoric.” Remember from Chapter 5 that we are defining rhetoric as “any kind of symbol use that functions in any realm” (Foss, Foss, and Griffin 7).

    Thumbnail: Bust of Aristotle. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC; the alabaster mantle is a modern addition. (Public Domain)


    This page titled 2.1: Rhetorical Criticism is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Scott T. Paynton & Laura K. Hahn with Humboldt State University Students.