Jennifer Courtney

The rhetoric of domestic advice: Ethos and metaphor

Jennifer Courtney

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2004; pp: 104
  • Advisor: Weiser, Irwin
  • Source: DAI-A 66/03, p. 981, Sep 2005
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-542-02103-X
  • UMI Number: AAT 3166606

Abstract:

    • This project extends current research in rhetorical studies and writing program administration by examining a variety of popular prescriptive texts about cleaning, organizing and maintaining the home. I examine a variety of popular and profitable texts, such as Martha Stewart Living, Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean, and Clean Like a Man, positioning them as arguments and exploring the ways in which they build and promote competing notions of gender and work. Using a rhetorical analysis framework, I analyze the ways in which the authors function as rhetors, aiming to persuade readers, via skillfully constructed ethos, to adopt specific practices or attitudes. I identify the personas sanctioned in the genre of domestic advice and suggest how the texts reward specific practices and identities proffered to readers. My study then shifts from a close analysis of domestic advice to the function of domestic metaphors in discussions of academic labor. I argue that the prevalence of domestic metaphors in discussions of writing program administration and composition studies, while intended to expose unfair working conditions for contingent faculty, collapse domestic and academic labor in problematic ways. I then provide alternatives that link cultural conversations about domesticity with more precise ways of discussing under-appreciated academic activity.