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Rhetoric in the South Pacific

Susan Thomas

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Rhetorical Studies

Place World » Pacific

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Since the “new rhetorical” movement of the 1960s, the definition of rhetoric has expanded to encompass a variety of theories and movements, technologies and innovations, thereby raising the question of how rhetoric is understood and employed in the twenty-first century (→  Rhetorics: New Rhetorics ). While its rich connection with composition studies has increased the profile, popularity, and applications of rhetoric in North America, the emphasis on composition or academic writing as a mainstay of tertiary education is not nearly so widespread in the South Pacific. As a result, the term “rhetoric” is regarded dubiously. Popular uses of the word as a term of denigration, such as “rhetoric of the media,” “just rhetoric,” “empty rhetoric,” and “political rhetoric,” have propagated images of trickery, deception, or simply the antithesis of reality. In academic circles, “rhetoric” is too often perceived as synonymous with remedial, with “fixing up” bad writing, with teaching grammar, and with decorating language (→  Style and Rhetoric ). However, progressive programs in the region reject these narrow definitions of rhetoric and see it instead as a valuable element of new textual cultures, particularly digital cultures. The five canons of classical rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery) have enjoyed a revival in everyday written and oral communication as a direct ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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