Notes: Nathan Stormer & Bridie McGeavy, “Thinking Ecologically About Rhetoric’s Ontology: Capacity, Vulnerability, and Resilience”

Stormer, Nathan, & Bridie McGreavy. (2017). Thinking ecologically about rhetoric’s ontology: Capacity, vulnerability, and resilience. Philosophy & Rhetoric, 50(1), 1-25.

Summary:

Stormer and McGeavy address three commonplaces in rhetoric (agency, violence, and recalcitrance) and argue for more ecologically enmeshed perspectives of these commonplaces (capacity, vulnerability, and resilience).

Keywords: materiality, ontology, rhetoric, rhetorical theory, writing studies

Quotations:

“Rhetoric’s ontology, approached ecologically, considers qualities of relations between entities, not just among humans, that enable different modes of rhetoric to emerge, flourish, and dissipate” (p. 3).

“Discourse as the performance of addressivity rather than as signification better acknowledges diverse, nonhuman qualities of relation within rhetoric…. As capacity, arrangements of addressivity establish ranges of action, meaning the limits of what or who may be affected by the discourses in question” (p. 8).

“Violence as forceful relation tells us little of how rhetorical capacities emerge because it obscures the environment that conditions violence by focusing on an eruptive moment” (p. 11).

“Vulnerability is not a state of being at risk but of being entangled, which requires being at risk in varying passive-active relations…. Action can ever and only be acting with the world, not simply acting on it” (p. 13).

“Different materialities set the field of potential and condition diverse rhetorics’ emergence from the broader environment. If that environment changes, so too does rhetorical capacity” (p. 19).

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