Can television shows like Modern Family, popular music by performers like Taylor Swift, advertisements for products like Samuel Adams beer, and films such as The Hunger Games help us understand rhetorical theory and criticism? The Third Edition of The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture offers students a step-by-step introduction to rhetorical theory and criticism by focusing on the powerful role popular culture plays in persuading us as to what to believe and how to behave. In every chapter, students are introduced to rhetorical theories, presented with current examples from popular culture that relate to the theory, and guided through demonstrations about how to describe, interpret, and evaluate popular culture texts through rhetorical analysis. Author Deanna Sellnow also provides sample student essays in every chapter to demonstrate rhetorical criticism in practice. This edition’s easy-to-understand approach and range of popular culture examples help students apply rhetorical theory and criticism to their own lives and assigned work.
Chapter 9: Visual Perspectives
Just as music pervades our daily lives so, too, do visual images and objects. And just as musical arguments are conveyed via nondiscursive symbols so, too, do visual arguments influence our “thinking and behavior through the strategic use of [nondiscursive] symbols” (Ehninger, 1972, p. 3). Visual perspectives explain the unique ways in which visuals communicate messages nondiscursively. And again, as with music, developing the ability to critically examine arguments embedded in visuals is vital because “they are an important means through which social life happens” (Rose, 2007, p. xiii).
Any number of rhetorical perspectives, including those we have already discussed in this book (e.g., neo-Aristotelian, narrative, dramatistic, symbolic convergence, neo-Marxist, feminist), can be employed to understand the arguments communicated in visuals. Thus, ...