Communication and Culture | Rhetoric, Ideology, Hegemony
C614 | 1172 | Lucaites

The intellectual and political traditions out of which the terms
"rhetoric" and "ideology" emerge have seldom been comfortable
bedfellows.  The classical rhetorical tradition out of which
"rhetoric" emerged typically has been concerned with the power of
sovereign, intending speakers to work positive and reconstructive
change through the management and manipulation of language in public
discourse. The social theoretical tradition out of which "ideology"
emerged typically has been more concerned with demonstrating that
speakers and their audiences are not sovereign, nor can they trust
that their intentions are their own.  This results in a style of
discourse analysis that strips away the imaginary and illusory
distortions of language and public discourse and the "false
consciousness" they promote.  In recent years, however, there has been
an implicit effort by rhetoricians and social theorists alike to
examine the motivations of speakers and audiences through the concept
of "hegemony" - a concept that emerged originally in the context of
the classical Greek hegemon (and thus connected with 2,500 year old
tradition of "rhetoric") and was revived in the 20th-century by the
Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci (and is thus connected with the
marxissant and primarily European social theoretical traditions of
"ideology"). It will be the argument of this class that the
productive social and political critique of public culture is best
served by a radical conception of "hegemony" that allows us to think
through rhetoric in terms of ideology, and ideology in terms of
rhetoric.  Such a conception will require us to think of hegemony in
terms of three concepts: structuration, articulation, and carnival.

The semester will be divided into three parts.  In Part I we will
explore the historical and theoretical foundation for the study of
hegemony, drawing alternatively from works in the rhetorical
tradition, including Aristotle and Isocrates, and from works in social
theory,  including works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Antonio
Gramsci, and early Frankfurt School thinkers like Walter Benjamin,
Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse.  In Part II we will focus on the
discursive turn in the study of ideology and hegemony, with attention
to a theory of structuration, and in Part III we will emphasize the
radical reconstruction of hegemony in the context of theories of
articulation and carnival.  Throughout both Parts II and III we will
focus attention on issues concerning the relationship(s) between
rhetoric, ideology, and hegemony that are accentuated when featured in
the context of agent/agency and speaker/speech/ audience relationships
as they manifest themselves in the context of a mass mediated, late-
or postmodern, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural public culture.  Readings
here will feature Louis Althusser, Kenneth Burke, Mikhail Bahktin,
Rita Felski, Anthony Giddens, Stuart Hall, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal
Mouffe, and Slavo Zizek.
	Course assignments will be designed to help students develop
their skills at socio-political critique  and creative theory
building.  Each student will prepare a semester length essay (20 pp. +
notes) that draws from class readings and discussions and the
student's own research program.  The course should be of interest to
anyone concerned with the problems and possibilities of social and
political critique, the relationship(s) between rhetoric and political
theory, and/or the socio-rhetorical forms and functions of the mass
media (broadly construed) as it contributes to the production and
reproduction of public culture in late modernity.

The course is cross-listed with Cultural Studies C701.  For more
information contact John Lucaites (