Meg Schoen

Rhetoric of the thirstland: Discourse and democracy in Botswana

Meg Schoen

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2012 pp: 190
  • Advisor: Johnson-Sheehan, Richard
  • Source: DAI-A 74/03(E)
  • Subjects: Language, literature and linguistics; Social sciences; Africa; Botswana; Communication; Comparative rhetoric; Cultural rhetoric; Democracy; Rhetoric and composition; Tswana; Ethnic studies; Sub Saharan Africa Studies; Rhetoric; 0639:Sub Saharan Africa Studies;
  • ProQuest Document Number: 1223501818
  • ISBN: 9781267746825
  • UMI Number: AAT 3544369

Abstract:

Rhetoric of the Thirstland: Discourse and Democracy in Botswana, is a study of the historical and contemporary rhetorical practices of the Tswana, the majority ethnic/cultural group in the nation-state of Botswana. The project is situated within the rhetoric and composition subfield often called comparative or cultural rhetorics, which seek to widen the field of rhetorical studies beyond the West, thus allowing a richer and deeper understanding of discourse to develop But comparative rhetoric studies of sub-Saharan Africa remain scarce. Rhetoric of the Thirstland: Discourse and Democracy in Botswana is one attempt to fill that gap. As the oldest multi-party democracy and one of Africa’s most politically stable countries, Botswana is a particularly interesting rhetorical context for study. In my dissertation, I argue that the indigenous political and rhetorical practices of the Tswana fostered a sense of communal identity and allowed for the negotiation of conflict and difference. Moreover, I demonstrate how these practices have carried forward into post-colonial Botswana to create distinctive conditions that help sustain peace and stability in Botswana today. Finally, I draw some comparisons between traditional Tswana rhetoric and dominant Africalogical and Western theories of discourse.