Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Immediacy of Rhetoric: Definitions, Illustrations, and Implications

The Immediacy of Rhetoric: Definitions, Illustrations, and Implications


Alice H. Calderonello, Advisor

"This dissertation theorizes about "Immediacy," a concept that is concerned with the destabilizations and ruptures that occur in con temporary rhetorical situations. I argue that when we examine how discourse functions in the current postmodern condition (where ideologies are in flux, borders are questioned, and technologies such as the Internet are radically changing the ways we com municate), we must re(con)figure our assumptions concerning such fundamental concepts as "rhetor," "audience," and "message."

Chapter one, "The Context of Context," discusses the ancient Greek notion of "kairos" in order to examine the connections and disconnections between the ancient past and the postmodern present and to set the context for contemporary debates on the rhetorical situation. Chapter two, "Postmodernity, Rhetorical Situations, and a Definition of Immediacy," which is heavily influenc ed by the theories of Derrida, Foucault, and Baudrillard, concerns the relationship between "immediacy" and "situation" within our contemporary postmodern condition, where the assumed distinctions between the roles of rhetors, audiences, and messages have been questioned, where the "wholly contained" self has dissolved, and where differences between the "real" and the "hyperreal" and simulation are indeterminate.

The second part of this dissertation (chapters three and four) examines the Internet as both an example of and a site for creating immediate rhetorical situations. Since the Internet is currently in a state of rapid change, chapter three, "Defining the Internet," explains in some detail the components of the Internet relevant for this work and describes the rhetors and audiences who inhabit this environment. Chapter four, "The Internet as an Immediate Rhetorical Situation," is a synthesis of what has come previously; it explains why the Internet is an immediate rhetorical situation. The closing chapter, "The Immediate Future," is a discussion of the implications of immediacy in general and for the Internet in particular".

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