State University of New York Press

SUNY series in Communication Studies

Dudley D. Cahn

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in Communication Studies

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Apprehending Politics

News Media and Individual Political Development

This groundbreaking book examines the significance of the news media for the political beliefs and behavior of contemporary Americans. Relying on original, in-depth interviews with members of the group known as Generation X, Marco Calavita analyzes the memories and understandings of these individuals’ political development dating back to childhood. Specifically, he focuses on the developmental significance of news media engagement in the context of institutions and phenomena like family, peers, schooling, and popular culture. Calavita succeeds where others have failed at exploring the inevitably contextualized and ecological nature of individual political development, and the specific roles of news media in that development. Apprehending Politics illuminates the subtle but fundamental power of news media in who we are politically, and how we got that way.

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Being Made Strange

Rhetoric beyond Representation

By elaborating upon pivotal twentieth-century studies in language, representation, and subjectivity, Being Made Strange reorients the study of rhetoric according to the discursive formation of subjectivity. The author develops a theory of how rhetorical practices establish social, political, and ethical relations between self and other, individual and collectivity, good and evil, and past and present. He produces a novel methodology that analyzes not only what an individual says, but also the social, political, and ethical conditions that enable him or her to do so. This book also offers valuable ethical and political insights for the study of subjectivity in philosophy, cultural studies, and critical theory.

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Boundaries of Privacy

Dialectics of Disclosure

Offering a practical theory for why people make decisions about revealing and concealing private information, Boundaries of Privacy taps into everyday problems in our personal relationships, our health concerns, and our work to investigate the way we manage our private lives. Petronio argues that in addition to owning our own private information, we also take on the responsibility of guarding other people’s private information when it is put into our trust. This can often lead to betrayal, errors in judgment, deception, gossip, and privacy dilemmas. Petronio’s book serves as a guide to understanding why certain decisions about privacy succeed while others fail.

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Dao of Rhetoric, The

In the first book to systematically deal with Daoism (Taoism) from a rhetorical perspective, author Steven C. Combs advances the idea that the works of Daoist (Taoist) sages Laozi (Lao Tzu), Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), and Sunzi (Sun Tzu) can be fused into a coherent rhetorical genre, which can then form a methodology for rhetorical criticism. This notion of Daoist rhetoric enables critics to examine discourse from new vantage points with novel processes and concepts that honor the creativity and complexity of human communication. Combs also critically examines four contemporary films—The Tao of Steve, A Bug’s Life, Antz, and Shrek—to amplify rhetorical Daoism, to indicate clear differences between Western and Daoist values, and to offer fresh perspectives on individuals and social action. The book argues that Daoism provides a lens for viewing limitations of current Western rhetorical theorizing, positioning Daoist rhetoric as a potent critical perspective in the contemporary, postmodern world.

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From Ballroom to DanceSport

Aesthetics, Athletics, and Body Culture

Drawing on recent media portrayals and her own experience, author and dancer Caroline Joan S. Picart explores ballroom dancing and its more “sporty” equivalent, DanceSport, suggesting that they are reflective of larger social, political, and cultural tensions. The past several years have seen a resurgence in the popularity of ballroom dance as well as an increasing international anxiety over how and whether to transform ballroom into an Olympic sport. Writing as a participant-critic, Picart suggests that both are crucial sites where bodies are packaged as racialized, sexualized, nationalized, and classed objects. In addition, Picart argues, as the choreography, costuming, and genre of ballroom and DanceSport continue to evolve, these theatrical productions are aestheticized and constructed to encourage commercial appeal, using the narrative frame of the competitive melodrama to heighten audience interest.

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Idea of Identification, The

Illustrated with interesting examples drawn from politics and art, The Idea of Identification draws on classical social and rhetorical theories to establish a systematic framework for understanding the varieties and forms of identification. Woodward references a variety of contexts in contemporary life to explore the rhetorical conditions that create powerful and captivating moments. By invoking the influential ideas of Kenneth Burke, George Herbert Mead, Joshua Meyrowitz and others, he shows how the rhetorical process of identification is separate from psychological theories of identity construction. Woodward concludes with an argument that film theory has perhaps offered the most vivid descriptive categories for understanding the bonds of identification.

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Moments of Meeting

Buber, Rogers, and the Potential for Public Dialogue

Moments of Meeting tells the story of a uniquely important event in twentieth-century intellectual history, the 1957 public dialogue of philosopher Martin Buber and psychotherapist Carl Rogers, and explores the practical implications of that event for contemporary social and cultural theory. Supported by original historical research, close textual analysis, and a variety of interviews, the book illuminates the careers, theories, and practices of two of the last century’s foremost scholars of dialogue, while it clarifies what they shared in common. Following a careful case study of the Buber-Rogers public conversation about the dynamics of dialogue itself, the authors conclude that public dialogue cannot be built primarily upon skillful technique. Instead, we must support settings and attitudes that enable unique “moments of meeting.”

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Peaceful Persuasion

The Geopolitics of Nonviolent Rhetoric

This remarkable book asserts that nonviolent rhetoric, largely overlooked until now, supports conflict transformation when applied to contemporary political communication. Ellen W. Gorsevski explores the pragmatic nonviolence of Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, the visual rhetoric of Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, and an anti-racist campaign in Billings, Montana. In so doing, she establishes a foundation for theorizing how conflicts can be understood, prevented, managed, or reduced by employing peace-minded rhetorical means. Peaceful Persuasion highlights the great possibilities, as well as deep responsibilities, of rhetorical choices made on the geopolitical scene and uncovers the transformative potential of recognizing the social, cultural, and political value of nonviolence in fostering democracy.

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Talking Problems

Studies of Discursive Construction

Using discursive constructionism and conversation analysis, Talking Problems examines how participants orient to, communicate about, and act toward events as problems. The book examines a series of problems, including teenage parenthood in high school, interpersonal and family relationships during therapy, and racism and interracial relations on a university campus. These problems are taken as joint constructions and the interest is in how participants’ versions of events get heard, what unfolds as a consequence of this, how participants position themselves, and what social realities are thereby created.

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