Argument, Political Theory, and Composition Classes
Publication Year: 2007
Deliberate Conflict cogently advocates reintegrating instruction in argumentation with the composition curriculum. By linking effective argumentation in the public sphere with the ability to effect social change, Roberts-Miller pushes compositionists beyond a simplistic Aristotelian conception of how argumentation works and offers a means by which to prepare students for active participation in public discourse.
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Sometimes it seems that teaching first-year writing has the place in theacademy that sex had in the Victorian era—the language surroundingit is one of duty and distaste, but the simple presence of a younger gen-eration demonstrates that people are engaging in it, or did it at somepoint in their lives. The accepted explanation is that we participate in it...
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Everyone knows what it means to teach public argumentation in writ-ing classes. It means that the instructor brings in examples of pub-lic policy writing on various topics, pointing out various formal qualities.Then the instructor gives an assignment something like the following:Pick a topic about which you care deeply, and write a letter of 1,000–1,250words to your congressperson arguing for or against some specific policy con-...
1. Politics Without Argument
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The liberal model of the public sphere is not the first or oldest modelof democracy (the agonistic model long predates it), but it is themost common in political theory and public discourse. Like current-tra-ditional pedagogy (which is, in many ways, the pedagogical enactmentof liberal political theory), it is grounded in Enlightenment values ofcivility, rationality, neutrality, and autonomy. While current-traditional...
2. Autonomous Selves, Liberally Educated
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...the core of Fishman’s teaching is a respect for the integrity ofdent’s classmates. He aims to be tolerant about pupils’ deeplyonly when he believes someone’s liberties and opportunities toAs described in the previous chapter, the most common criticisms ofthe liberal public sphere focus on: the public/private split; the as-sumption of universality; the notion of the autonomous individual; lim-...
3. Closing My Eyes as You Speak
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...“might is right,” “right is expediency,” etc.—that necessarilyOne dilemma in liberal political theory is that the government is toremain neutral in regard to values (the good), yet any particularpolicy necessarily represents the triumph of some set of values. The HetchHetchy Valley is preserved in a wilderness state (a preservationist value)or dammed and flooded (an instrumentalist value); policies cannot be...
4. What Angels of Our Nature? Communitarianism, Social Constructivism, and Communities of Discourse
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Idistinguished the liberal model of the public sphere from the inter-est-based model on the grounds that the former tries to balance self-interest and public good while the latter ignores public good altogether.Communitarians argue that the distinction is essentially false—the lib-eral model necessarily ends up in the interest-based model due to its un-willingness to impose a particular set of morals on its citizens. They ar-...
5. Listening for Difference
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Much of my criticism of various models of a democratic public sphere rests on whether or not the model promotes a deliberative versus an expressive public sphere. Yet I have not made the case for discussion. What makes discussion valuable? Why shouldn’t people simply vote without having to argue about anything first? Jon Elster lists nine...
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When Berlin published “Rhetoric and Ideology,” he laid out adeeply problematic taxonomy, making a monolith of classicalrhetoric, obscuring the distinction between models of perception andmodels of cognition, ignoring traditions like rhetorical humanism andpragmatism, and implying that practice and theory are necessarily con-nected. In a certain sense, none of those criticisms matter. His intention,...
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Patricia Roberts-Miller, an associate professor in the Division of Rhetoricand Composition at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author ofVoices in the Wilderness: The Paradox of the Puritan Public Sphere. She hasalso served on the faculty (and directed first-year composition) at the Uni-versity of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Missouri...
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Page Count: 277
Publication Year: 2007
Edition: 1st Edition