Rhetoric, with its double character as academic discipline and practice, stands in a unique position to engage the linguistic and discursive aspects of collective civic engagement. Drawing on and in collaboration with neighboring fields of inquiry such as political science, discourse studies, linguistics, media studies, informal logic, practical philosophy and social anthropology, scholars of rhetoric are able to study actual communicative behavior as it circulates in various fora and spheres – from face to face encounters to mediated discourse. With our diverse theoretical and methodological backgrounds we hold many keys to pressing concerns such as the alleged polarization and coarsening of the ‘tone’ in public debate, the turning away from political engagement toward smaller spheres of interest, and the general difficulty in making politics work constructively in many parts of the world, not least the EU.
We invite attendees – scholars, teachers, students, and citizens across a range of disciplinary traditions – to extend our knowledge of the social roles of rhetoric through theoretical and critical study, and to consider our roles as public intellectuals: how are we to name, describe, criticize, analyze, and, indeed, undertake or teach rhetorical action on matters of communal concern whether locally, nationally, or internationally?
We invite papers that help address questions such as, e.g.:
- How is rhetorical citizenship to be defined and developed as a critical frame for studying rhetoric in society?
- What conditions must obtain for rhetorical citizenship to be possible and thrive?
- What rhetorical processes and maneuvers can be observed in practitioners of rhetorical citizenship?
- How is rhetorical citizenship instantiated across genres, settings, and cultural or geographical settings?
- How is rhetorical citizenship experienced differently, even controversially, depending on power differentials and social or regional constraints?
- How can rhetorical history and pedagogy serve as a resource for contemporary theory, practice and critique of rhetorical citizenship?
- What disciplinary connections need to be made or reinvigorated for fruitful interdisciplinary work on rhetorical citizenship?
- What are potentials and pitfalls for sound and dynamic public rhetorical engagement?
- What is good and what is poor rhetorical citizenship?