Summary Of Rhetorical Criticism

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The overreaching objective of a rhetorical critic is to illuminate characteristics about a specific event or text, analyze the symbols and artifacts, and construct an argument to influence. This methodology works under the assumption that the reality we live in is socially constructed and these social events have the power to influence action (Christians, 2001). It begins with an interest in a particular area (i.e. social activism, political election, or race riot) and asking the questions about how these particular symbols are used (Foss, 2009a). Moreover, Foss explains critics seek to elucidate what the symbol teach society. The role of theory is employed differently in rhetorical criticism than in the other methodologies. The general use of theory is to explain the questions of why, or why a particular event or phenomena occurs (Sutton & Staw, 1995). Theory in rhetorical criticism is the particular lens the critic uses to evaluate and craft an argument. This effects how a rhetorical critic uses evidence to support their argument. Collecting data, in the form of field notes or surveys, is important to methodologies like quantitative and qualitative studies, a strong argument is the support, logic, and evidence needed in rhetorical criticism (Christians, 2001). For example, a quantitative researcher needs to have specific…show more content…
Goehring’s (2010) examination on the aesthetics of the Abu Ghraib prison photographs. The study was not designed to establish how awful or terrible these photos are, or condemns the actions of the U.S. soldiers committing the acts but examines the creation of morality narratives surrounding the photos. Goehring identified five moral frameworks: ritualistic, spectacular, traumatic, pornographic, and iconic. The purpose of the study was not to demonize the photos, but to understand the negative narratives surrounding the photos and how they provoke discussion to this
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