JennieMarie Calcamuggio

Public intellectual as rhetor: Employing epideictic rhetoric, ethos, and technology to open spaces, promote participation, and encourage action

JennieMarie Calcamuggio

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2010 pp: 163
  • Advisor: Johnson-Sheehan, Richard D.
  • Source: DAI-A 72/06(E)
  • Subjects: Language, literature and linguistics; Epideictic; Ethos; Internet; Public intellectuals; Technology; Rhetoric;
  • ProQuest Document Number: 863637873
  • ISBN: 9781124573724
  • UMI Number: AAT 3449724

Abstract:

This dissertation argues for the relevance of integrating theories of rhetoric into interdisciplinary discussions of public intellectuals. Scholarly research in this field is heavy with the perspectives of political science, history, and sociology. Beginning with a sampling of studies from the past ninety years, this project identifies a dearth of research on audience awareness and community formation. This gap is where rhetoric can enter the discussion and prove valuable. The shift from television and print media to online and mobile technologies provides an additional entry point to examine the possibilities for public intellectuals to open spaces for discussion and foster communities focused on participation and the co-creation of knowledge. Building on theories of the epideictic genre from Aristotle’s and Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca, this project demonstrates how the epideictic genre can address a perceived ideological and physical gap between public intellectuals and their audiences. By using epideictic and emphasizing shared values, public intellectuals can achieve communion with their publics and enhance the possibility of their audiences taking action to bring about change. This project provides case studies of Bishop Kevin Dowling, Bishop of Rustenberg South Africa and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Misnad, Her Royal Highness of Qatar. Both public intellectuals work within value-laden religious, political, and social systems to advocate for changes in traditional approaches to problems and perceptions of their communities. They illustrate how one can maintain a consistent agenda for change while relating to audiences with different values and different purposes for the information. The consistency of the information and ethos are integral in establishing community in electronic mediums, where information is abundant. Public intellectuals can use blogs, wikis, and websites to foster a participatory culture, making use of the intersection of epideictic rhetoric and technology to encourage action among members.