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Rhetoric in Popular Culture

Rhetoric in Popular Culture

Fifth Edition

October 2017 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Rhetoric in Popular Culture, Fifth Edition, shows readers how to apply growing and cutting-edge methods of critical studies to a full spectrum of contemporary issues seen in daily life. Exploring a wide range of mass media including current movies, magazines, advertisements, social networking sites, music videos, and television shows, Barry Brummett uses critical analysis to apply key rhetorical concepts to a variety of exciting examples drawn from popular culture. Readers are guided from theory to practice in an easy-to-understand manner, providing them with a foundational understanding of the definition and history of rhetoric as well as new approaches to the rhetorical tradition. Ideal for courses in rhetorical criticism, the highly anticipated Fifth Edition includes new critical essays and case studies that demonstrate for readers how the critical methods discussed can be used to study the hidden rhetoric of popular culture.
Part 1: Theory
Chapter 1: Rhetoric and the Rhetorical Tradition
Definitions and the Management of Power  
The Rhetorical Tradition: Ancient Greece  
The Rise of the City-States: How Democracy Grew Up with Rhetoric  
Rhetoric in Athens  
Plato’s Complaints against the Sophists  
Two Legacies We Have Inherited from the Greek Rhetorical Tradition  
Definitions of Rhetoric after Plato  
Rhetoric in the Eighteenth Century  
New Theories (and New Realities) Emerge in the Twentieth Century  
What Changed in the Twentieth Century and Beyond  
Managing Power Today in Traditional Texts: Neo-Aristotelian Criticism  
Summary and Review  
Looking Ahead  
Chapter 2: Rhetoric and Popular Culture
The Rhetoric of Everyday Life  
The Building Blocks of Culture: Signs  
Indexical Meaning  
Iconic Meaning  
Symbolic Meaning  
Complexity of the Three Kinds of Meaning  
The Building Blocks of Culture: Artifacts  
An Action, Event, or Object Perceived as a Unified Whole  
. . . Having Widely Shared Meanings  
. . . Manifesting Group Identification to Us  
Definitions of Culture  
Elitist Meanings of Culture  
Popular Meanings of Culture  
Characteristics of Cultures  
Cultures Are Highly Complex and Overlapping  
Cultures Entail Consciousness, or Ideologies  
Cultures Are Experienced through Texts  
Managing Power Today in Texts of Popular Culture  
Four Characteristics of the Texts of Popular Culture  
Summary and Review  
Looking Ahead  
Chapter 3: Rhetorical Methods in Critical Studies
Texts as Sites of Struggle  
Texts Influence through Meanings  
Texts Are Sites of Struggle over Meaning  
Three Characteristics of Critical Studies  
The Critical Character  
Concern over Power  
Critical Interventionism  
Finding a Text  
The First Continuum: Type of Text  
The Second Continuum: Sources of Meanings  
Defining a Context  
The Third Continuum: Choice of Context  
The Fourth Continuum: Text-Context Relationship  
“Inside” the Text  
The Fifth Continuum: From Surface to Deep Reading  
The Text in Context: Metonymy, Power, Judgment  
Summary and Review  
Looking Ahead  
Chapter 4: Varieties of Rhetorical Criticism: Intervention-Understanding
An Introduction to Critical Perspectives  
Methods Focused on Power  
Culture-Centered Criticism  
Cultures and Their Own Critical Methods  
Whiteness as a Kind of Culture: Analysis and Examples  
Marxist Criticism  
Materialism, Bases, and Superstructure  
Economic Metaphors, Commodities, and Signs  
Preferred and Oppositional Readings  
Subject Positions  
Standpoint Theory  
Feminist Criticism  
Varieties of Feminist Criticism  
How Do Patriarchal Language and Images Perpetuate Inequality?  
How Can Texts Empower Women?  
Queer Theory  
Analysis and Examples  
Summary and Review  
Chapter 5: Varieties of Rhetorical Criticism: Understanding-Intervention
Methods Focused on Self and Society  
Psychoanalytic Criticism  
Making Minds and Selves  
Visual Rhetorical Criticism  
Images as Focal Points of Meaning Attribution  
Images as Focal Points of Collective Memory and Community  
Point of View  
Methods Focused on Story  
Dramatistic/Narrative Criticism  
Language as a Ground for Motives  
Narrative Genres  
Comedy and Tragedy  
The Pentad  
Analysis and Examples  
Media-Centered Criticism  
What Is a Medium?  
Media Logic  
Characteristics of Television as a Medium  
Analysis and Examples  
Characteristics of Handheld Devices as a Medium  
Characteristics of the Computer and Internet as a Medium  
Analysis and Examples  
Summary and Review  
Looking Ahead  
Part 2: Application
Chapter 6: Paradoxes of Personalization: Race Relations in Milwaukee
The Problem of Personalization  
The Scene and Focal Events  
Problems in the African American Community  
Violence against African Americans  
The School System  
White Political Attitudes  
Tragedy and Metonymy  
Metonymizing the Tragedies  
Metonymy and Paradox  
The Paradox of Identification  
Identification and Race  
Enabling Identification  
Forestalling Identification  
The Persistence of Race  
The Paradox of Action: The Public and the Personal  
Personal Action and Loss of Vision  
The Paradox in Milwaukee  
African Americans “In Need of Help”  
Some Solutions  
Reciprocal Personalization  
Metonymizing Yourself  
Metonymizing Others  
Resources for Careful Metonymy  
Stepping Back from the Critique  
Chapter 7: Notes from a Texas Gun Show
Texas and Gun Culture  
At the Gun Show  
Summary and Review  
Chapter 8: Simulational Selves, Simulational Culture in Groundhog Day
Simulation and Groundhog Day  
Chapter 9: Jumping Scale in Steampunk: One Gear Makes You Larger, One Duct Makes You Small
Steampunk and Jumping Scale  
The Aesthetic of Steampunk  
Jumping Scale Down  
Jumping Scale Up  
Chapter 10: The Bad Resurrection in American Life and Culture
The Fast and the Furious Movies  
Halloween and Friday the 13th Movies  

“An accessible introduction to contemporary rhetorical theory and its applications in everyday life.” 

Cory Brewster
Eastern Oregon University

If you are teaching a class in rhetoric and popular culture, this is the text you want to use.”

Mindy Fenske
University of South Carolina
Key features
  • Updated examples reflect today’s ever-changing popular culture and help readers apply cutting-edge methodologies to the study of rhetoric.
  • Recent scholarship on pop culture includes the latest studies and findings.
  • New application chapters titled “The Bad Resurrection in American Life and Culture,” “Notes from a Texas Gun Show,” and “Jumping Scale in Steampunk: One Gear Makes You Larger, One Duct Makes You Small” have been added to provide readers with fresh examples of how theories and methods can be applied to popular culture.
  • Engaging exercises, discussion questions, and application chapters show readers how to use rhetorical criticism to analyze popular culture.
  • Fun questions and useful mini-assignments help readers understand the practical applications and relevance of rhetorical concepts in everyday life.
  • A solid foundation in traditional rhetorical theories is enhanced by coverage of the latest theories and the full range of new rhetorical practices.
  • Well-written examples of criticism serve as strong models for readers.

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ISBN: 9781506315638