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COMM 401 Week 1 Notes

by: BreAnn Fields

COMM 401 Week 1 Notes COMM 401

BreAnn Fields

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These notes will cover Chapter 1 and 3 of Modern Rhetorical Criticism, and Part 1 of The Handmaids Tale
Interpreting Strategic Discourse
Professor Hoffman
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by BreAnn Fields on Wednesday February 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM 401 at University of Maryland taught by Professor Hoffman in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Interpreting Strategic Discourse in Communication Studies at University of Maryland.


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Date Created: 02/03/16
02/01/2016 CHAPTER 1- The Rhetorical Perspective Rhetoric is everywhere Page 13-Table 1.1  Rhetoric helps us see many different elements ▯ ▯ Rhetoric definition:  Art of using language to help narrow their choices among specifiable, if not specified, policy options  Art of using symbols to help people make choices ▯ ▯ Rhetoric is…  Art- takes skill, practice and set knowledge  Art of using language- using a set of symbols to help people make choices (may not be specified but may be applied) ▯ ▯ Rhetoric is about…  Context- o Tuned to particular audience (flyer, newsletter, etc.) o Saying right thing at the right time  Generative- o Creating new forms of meaning ▯ ▯ CHAPTER 3-Analyzing Situations ▯ ▯ Reading Notes  Every message contains “genetic markers” that reveal much about its parentage-where it came from and why. ▯ ▯ The Meanings of Speech-Acts  Basic fact about speaking that goes unnoticed: it is an activity  The speaker both says something and does something.  Matters of place, timing and relationship can undo messages  The decision to communicate with another means at least these following things: o The rhetor feels something is wrong  a toasting at a party is suppose to wave any unhappiness away from the couple o The rhetor is not yet desperate  Rhetors are optimists; they believe that communication can change human affairs  By sharing symbols people convey hope  Total desperation drives people away o The rhetor is committed  Communication implies a dramatic commitment primarily because of the substantial risks attendant to it  These commitments are often emotional and cost us time, money, relationships and/or sleep o The audience is open to change  Audiencing is a commitment ▯ Rhetor-topic:  Ex:Lady Laura Bush cancels something at the White House on a specific topic that could be going on currently for certain reasons ▯ Rhetor-setting:  Ex: George Bush addressed an Iraq problem from the deck of an aircrafts ▯ Rhetor-audience:  Ex: Dixie Chicks said something about George Bush and was boycotted by country music fans and DJs ▯ ▯ The Functions of Speech-Acts  Speech situations index power- o Media is central to a presidents image of strength o Ex:Ronald Reagans assassination  Speech situations index ego needs- o Ex: Lyn Johnson makes speeches in home town because Texas audiences confirmed that he finally made it as a national figure  Speech situations index social obstacles- o Ex:preplanned speeches to preselected audiences instead of putting up with the give and take press conferences  Speech situations reveal speaker priorities o Ex: Jimmy Carter still continued to give speeches about policies he was strongly committed to even after he lost reelection  Speech situations reveal audience priorities- o American people seem to have developed an insatiable appetite for presidential oratory  Speech situations reveal speaker/audience relationships o Presidents are now speaking to private groups more than ordinary citizens o Ex: political fundraising ▯ ▯ The Components of Speech-Acts  The model situates the message within an array of social forces o Ex: Older messages seem to chide “you really should have been there”  The model describes a system of elements o To change one element of a speech act you must change the whole.  All situational elements operate within a unique cultural boundary o Hard to see the effects of culture upon human interaction o Culture penetrates all message-sending and all message- receiving  An artifact is the visible record of a complex interaction o Critic focuses heavily on the artifact because that is all that is left after a dynamic human encounter has occurred.  The artifact is the rhetorical critics touchstone o Ex: anthropologists study social settings, sociologists study audiences, psychologists study media effects, and historians study the careers of great speakers o But rhetorical critics are the ones who study the marks lefts on messages by these various forces Intertextual Aspects- the bits and pieces of previous texts put into a new text. Each speech topic has a “range of discussability” ▯ ▯ The persuasive field consists of all other messages impinging open an audience in a given rhetorical situation ▯ ▯ Some physical locations take on special social significance  Ex:Queen Elizabeth made history by celebrating her golden jubilee with a party at the palace where musical artists performed ▯ We cannot visualize time so a setting like Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeths party tends to stand for history ▯ Aspects of time(the hour of the day) and timing(when the events occurs relative to other events) are also important factors in a speech. A medium is that which carries a message.  Ex: marriage proposal is said in person because speaking is more intimate. ▯ ▯ Persuasion has changed dramatically with the advent of the mass media ▯ ▯ 1. The very decision to communicate can be an important kind of social action ▯ 2. the various elements of a rhetorical situation often become imprinted upon the messae, thereby becoming a valuable source of insight for the critic ▯ ▯ Class Notes:  Sender------Medium/Message--------- Receiver(Can be more than one person) ^^^^^^This is put into a whole context/system that can deal with physical, time of day, importance, etc.  You cannot talk about the message without talking about the whole system. ▯  Speech says something and does something > Speech Acts ▯  Exigence- whatever thing (policy, social norm, event etc.) is calling the speaking and insisting in their minds that they must speak about a particular issue on a particular context. ▯  The speaker chooses to engage ▯ ▯ Ex: Obama talking in Tuscan physically instead of just talking on the TV through the oval office meaning there was some more significance of being there physically to speak Variables(Questions): Means to get to Significance  Rhetor(Speaker) o Credibility/Ethos(Knowledgeable, Achievement, Trustworthy, Relationship with Audience, Background) o What textual evidence shows that the rhetor considered these factors when framing the message in question?<<<Did they try to leverage their relationship? What choices did they make and why?  Audience o Demographics(who the audience is) o attended audience vs. actual audience o Values and experiences of the audience o How is the speaking adapting or not adapting with audience?  Topic o Appropriateness o Relationship to audience and expectations o Socially acceptable to say about the topic o How the audience relates to topic o Topic can change the whole system o Setting may depend on the topic  Persuasive Field o Are there set arguments that the speaker will have to adapt to o What is the existing debate and what have people said about this topic before o Previous rhetoric (what have people previously said about this)  Setting o All physical makeup of where and when the speech is taking place o Physical relationship(stage, stage craft, set pieces, fancy lighting etc.) o Physical surroundings matter (non-verbal events) o None spoken physical things that are happening (noise, distractions) o Time of day  Media o Nature of the medium(text based, transcript, essay, newspaper, video, audio, radio, youtube) o Can change the size of audience and who audience is o Important in how you interpret the content (audio- cannot see the person, tv- you can see the person) ▯ ▯ Significance ▯ The Functions of Speech-Acts- once you have mapped this out what does it tell us about what the speaker wants us to do  Situational Analysis Indexes Power o Index means that it helps you take a snapshot of power o Power permeates all elements in a system o Power between the speaker and the audience o Ex: Podium, stage speech o Critic uses this (who has it and who does it and how do we know it)  Reveals speaker priorities o Choice of when, where and how to speak o Shows priorities, motives o Tells something about what choices the speaker made to control the setting o Formal or informal? o where their motives lie  Reveals speaker/audience relationships o Who has the power and who doesn’t or are they equal? o What are the most important experiences of the audience that the speaker is trying to grab onto o key for any critical analysis of a speech (relationship between speaker and audience) o Speaker speaking with purpose of a youtube message or pre recorded ▯ ▯ ▯ PART 1 ▯ ▯ Questions to think of:  What do we know? o theyre held captive o know the “main” characters names o held captive where they had many great memories o captives, aunts and angels- three main group of characters that were introduced  What questions does this imply? o why are they called angels but object of fear? o why are they held captive or in prison? o why aren’t they allowed to speak to each other? o why are they only allowed to walk on football fields, 2 people at a time?  Is the introduction an effective writing strategy? o Yes, you want to keep reading on and get questions answered that you have after reading the details during the introduction ▯ ▯


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