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 5: A Symbolic Convergence Perspective
The world can be a confusing and intimidating place. As Fisher and Burke have demonstrated, narratives and dramas come at us from all sides, often creating an information or entertainment overload. As the theme song to the sitcom Cheers used to tout, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” Whether or not they know our name, we tend to feel more comfortable when we are with like-minded people who accept or reject the same story lines that we do. That is the driving force behind Ernest Bormann’s (1972, 1973, 1982, 1983, 1985) work. Bormann (1972) developed symbolic convergence theory (SCT) to tap into and interpret the dramatizing messages ...