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The SAGE Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods

Michael S. Lewis-Beck & Alan Bryman & Tim Futing Liao

Pub. date: 2004 | DOI:

Print ISBN: 9780761923633 | Online ISBN: 9781412950589

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Encyclopedia Entry


Michael Billig

The term rhetoric refers both to the persuasive character of discourse and to the long-established tradition of studying oratory. Political speeches, for example, are instances of rhetoric in the first sense because they are communications designed to persuade. Also, political speeches can be studied by the discipline of rhetoric, which will aim to demonstrate how speakers use discursive devices to try to convince their hearers. The study of rhetoric dates back to ancient times. Aristotle and Cicero, for instance, analyzed the nature of oratory and sought to provide systematic, practical guidance for aspiring public speakers. In Europe during the Middle Ages, rhetoric was one of the three basic subjects of ...

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