Document Type


Publication Date

August 2010

Publication Title

Quarterly Journal of Speech

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Contrivance, Institutionality, Invention, Rhetorical Situation, School


Theoretical discussion of the rhetorical situation has been dedicated largely to questions of its ontology and of how it is constituted. Where this ontological orientation has inclined theorists to treat the concept as a theoretical premise, an institutional orientation would instead frame constructivist accounts of the rhetorical situation as a political-pedagogical commitment and treat the ethical obligations that arise from any given situation as bound to specific institutional forms. From an institutional perspective, the rhetorical situation is to conscience as the institution of school is to education. The distinction of both rhetorical situations and schools lies not in their contrivedness per se, but in the inventional capacities their contrived qualities sustain.


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