• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The discipline of communication has grown in popularity from the time professors of journalism and speech decided, in the mid-1960s, that the term “communication” was an excellent general descriptor for the theory and research that each group aspired to create.  Over time, the two groups grew closer and recognized significant overlap in their theoretical and research interests, but there were also differences in their traditions that kept them apart.  While both groups agreed that communication is a practical discipline, journalism professors focused a great deal of their attention on the education of media professionals.  Speech professors, on the other hand, often were more oriented to the liberal arts and valued the fact that communication could be approached from a variety of traditions, including the arts, ...

Rhetorical Style
Rhetorical style

Style is one of the most ancient concepts in communication and has long been regarded as a key component of messages. Its meaning and importance have not remained entirely consistent throughout history, however. This variability is a sign that it is an index of how communication works in cultures, for it changes as the role and nature of communication in society itself changes. Style has especially been associated with rhetoric, or the study, practice, and critique of persuasion. In important ways, what we think of style—whether we love it or hate it, think it is trivial or important—is what we think of rhetoric in general.

In this chapter, I argue that style has been understood within two main traditions: linguistic and performative. Both ...

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