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32 Social Movement Rhetoric

Since 1952, when Leland M. Griffin called on critics to “isolate the rhetorical movement” in historical movements, rhetorical study of movements has proved to be both a heuristic and episodic endeavor. In their approach to such studies, critics also have begun to blur the lines between the rhetoric of a discrete “movement” and broader scholarship in public discourse studies. Gaonkar (2002) observed that as scholars have come to view discourse as an “immensely rich and complex” object of analysis, the demand has risen “for a flexible critical practice no longer governed by a single monolithic theoretical perspective” (p. 411). We believe that a similar critical flexibility has come to characterize recent study of oppositional rhetorics and the discrete acts or practices of movements. Through analysis of “counterpublics” (Asen, 2000; Asen & Brouwer, 2001) and resistant bodies and images (DeLuca, 1999a, 1999b; DeLuca & Peeples, 2002; Harold & DeLuca, 2005), social ...

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