Audience and Rhetoric: An Archaeological Composition of the Discourse Community

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9780130506757: Audience and Rhetoric: An Archaeological Composition of the Discourse Community

Offering a new approach to the concept of audience, this volume critiques the prevalent audience theories and practices in the field of rhetoric and composition, using the archaeological methodology of Michel Foucault. The author traces major audience treatments from Aristotle and George Campbell to the present and shows how the dominant approaches are founded on a managerial composing model which assumes that invention is the exclusive activity of the writer. Porter argues for the ethical necessity of a social constructionist approach to audience, developing out of reader-response and poststructuralist theory. For anyone involved in the creation of public policy.

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Audience and Rhetoric examines two questions of significance to composition and rhetoric teachers and researchers: what is an audience, and what does it mean to "consider" one? To investigate these questions, author James Porter invokes the archaelogical methodology of Michel Foucault to critique selected treatments of audience in rhetoric and composition from the classical era to the present and to reconstruct a postmodern rhetorical notion of audience. Porter demonstrates that although the meaning and value of the term "audience" is highly unstable, shifting frequently and varying widely, treatments generally share the dubious trait of positing audience within a managerial communication model which assigns audience a passive and subordinate role relative to the writer. Porter argues the ethical necessity for and pedagogical advantages of a community perspective which more readily acknowledges the audience's potential for contribution to the composing process.

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