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The Rhetoric of Social Intervention
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The Rhetoric of Social Intervention
An Introduction



November 2008 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The first-ever thorough exploration and discussion of the rhetorical model of social invention [RSI] (initially conceived by rhetorical theorist William R. Brown) for today's students and scholars.

This unique communication-based model provides students with a systemic framework for interpreting, analyzing, and critiquing social and cultural change from a rhetorical perspective. It offers students an easily accessible tool for critically reflecting upon the ongoing process of rhetorical intervention in people's perceptions of needs, relationships, and worldview. The model also gives students a methodology for considering social and cultural side effects of rhetorical interventions.

This book offers an overview, explanation, and application examples of the RSI model that are unavailable elsewhere, ties into the trend of emphasizing a critical approach, and contributes to the turn toward a rhetoric of activism.

[The RSI model is based on the assumption that naming, or the human ability to transform both sensed and non-sensed experience into symbols, is the fundamental human activity. The RSI model assumes that we have an inherent need to name for in naming experience, we make sense of and give meaning to that experience. For example, immediately after two planes hit the World Trade Center towers, a national discussion launched on how to name that experience: Terrorism? Revenge? Accident? Desperation? How experience is named influences our perceptions of needs and relationships, so the model assumes. The model lays out the communicative process by which change occurs--in three sub-cycles called need, power, and attention--viewed as dimensions of ideology.

 
Section I: The Rhetoric of Social Intervention Model
 
1. Rhetoric as Social Intervention
Intervention

 
Systems

 
Rhetoric

 
Rhetorical Criticism

 
RSI Model

 
Rhetorical Lenses

 
Book Overview

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review Questions

 
Chapter Exercises

 
Service Learning Exercise

 
Under the Lens: Sharing Students' Insights

 
 
2. Naming as a Social Intervention
Naming Overview

 
The Naming Process

 
The Rhetorical Functions of Naming

 
The Rhetorical Strategies of Naming

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review Questions

 
Chapter Exercises

 
Service Learning Exercise

 
Under the Lens: Making Sense of Experience

 
 
3. Systemic Naming as Social Intervention
Ideology

 
Need Subsystem: Intrapersonal Categorizing

 
Power Subsystem: Interpersonal Categorizing

 
Attention Subsystem: Interpretative Categorizing

 
Subsystems as Holographic Systems

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review Questions

 
Chapter Exercises

 
Service Learning Exercise

 
Under the Lens: Abstracting From Experience

 
 
4. Widening Circles of Intervention
System Intervention

 
Attention Intervention

 
Power Intervention

 
Need Intervention

 
Ideology Intervention

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review Questions

 
Chapter Exercises

 
Service Learning Exercise

 
Under the Lens: Compensating for Social Order Challenges

 
 
5. Process and Practice of RSI Criticism
Preanalysis: Naming the Social Intervention

 
Analysis: Asking Critical Questions

 
Postanalysis: Writing the Critical Essay

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review Questions

 
Chapter Exercises

 
Service Learning Exercise

 
Under the Lens: Finding Inspiration

 
 
6. Process and Practice of Intervention
The Model as Practical Intervention

 
The Model as Rhetorical Intervention

 
The Book as Intervention

 
Chapter Summary

 
Review Questions

 
Chapter Exercises

 
Service Learning Exercise

 
Under the Lens: Interpreting Scholarship

 
 
Section II: RSI Criticism Essays
 
RSI Essays Introduction
 
Essay 1: From Count Them Out to Count Us In, by Shannon DeBord
 
Essay 2: "The Lady's Not for Turning," by Seth Phillips and Mark Gring
 
Essay 3: The Butterflies' Rhetorical Challenge, by Omolara Oyelakin
 
Essay 4: Born to Power, by Lee Snyder

For instructors

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