Berlin, Rhetoric and ideology in the writing class

Berlin assumes an ironic stance through much of this work, especially in his critique - so careful reading!

a way of teaching is never innocent. every pedagogy is imbricated in ideology. 735

turn from rhetoric as creator and shaper of ideology to rhetoric embedded in ideology. any particular rhetoric or conception of literacy or language will favor one version of social, economic, and political arrangement over others - a rhetoric can never be innocent or disinterested. it is always serving ideological claims -

So, we can read concept maps of how writing gets taught as ideologically motivated.

rhetoric of cognitive psychology
claims scientific neutrality

expressionistic rhetoric
admits its ideological position - but mainly as opposing cog and CTR, and so open to appropriation

self-consciously aware of its ideological stance, and so makes ideology the center of the classroom

Grounds his premises in Therborn's reading of Althusser -
choices are always based on discursive practices that are interpretable, not based on transcriptions of some external, verifiable reality. 719 those choices are already rhetorical and already ideological. ideology itself is inscribed in language practices.

Berlin's glosses on Therborn
ideology provides a structure for determining what exits and what not, and hence identity, even the interpolating the structure of perception.

ideology provides the subject with standards for determining what is good - so that desires become normalized. ideology provides a structure for desire, driving what we will pursue

ideology defines the limits of what is possible, and so a structure for hopes, ambitions, and fears. hence, recognition of a condition and a desire for change will go for nothing if the ideology indicates that change is not possible. 720

ideology carries a strong social endorsement. what we take to exist, value, be possible, seems natural, necessary, inevitable.
  • this is why I question some of your key terms in your critiques. to say something is "natural" is to signal a codeword: it's ideological -so ready to be critiqued.
  • to see these theorists as involved mainly in a power-play with each other - with that power play driving what they argue and how - is to invoke a pretty stock and naive ideology right out of the managerial class. but what's interesting is how difficult it can be to even imagine the interplay of their work as orchestrated for another purpose, with other motives.

ideology carries with it how power will be distributed, determining who can act abnd how - who can speak and how - and what can be accomplished.

Cognitive rhetoric
heir to CTR

embedded and arose from the 19th cent university and shaped in that ideology. sought to rationalize or scientize production and prepare managers of the producers.
  • note that its bases might now be worn out. capitalism and production have changed, management claims to have changed, so the rhetoric might need to change to suit. what's questionable is if the essential power structures have changed. likely not. yet.

based on cognitive psych, in which structures of the mind are not created but correspond exactly with structures of material world, minds of the audience, and units of language. mind operates in a rationale, if not always predictable, way.

focus on the individual mind. writing becomes another instance of problem-solving, and involves the processes of experts. focus is on "real-world" writing
the professional activities of experts conceived in managerial terms

the real is rational, measurable, analyzable in discrete units. goals are naturally ! of value. obstacles to goals are "problems." but the value of the goals are not discussed or entertained. they place what can't be measured and what doesn't fit the hierarchy into the intuitive; heuristics, the products of which are valuable only in regards to how well those products fit the problem-solving hierarchy.

purpose of writing is to create a commodified text as the property of the individual and that has exchange value. some are better at producing this commodity than others and are the ones that rise above the rest.
  • keep your eye on this one. while we like to claim we write to express a self, we are anxious about that expression being traded as someone else's property. that argument is based on the ideology that expression by some is a commodity rightfully owned, even though the materials it is forged from - language - is a social commodity.

all well in line with the meritocratic university.

expressionistic rhetoric
source in the elitist rhetoric of liberal culture: writing is a gift of genius, an art, requires years of literary study.

wouldn't seem at first blush in line with capitalist ideology but it is easily co-opted to those ends: emphasis on individual, emphasis on private vision serving entrepreneurial ends as the highest form of expression in capital markets, emphasis on failure being the result not of market forces or ideological forces but the individual's unwillingness to pursue a private vision 729. when this is embraced by the repressed class, it results in alienation from work.

expressionistic rhetoric democratizes the gift. allied with a psychology that argues the goodness of the individual in isolation from the fallen state of society.

realties of language are valued insofar as the serve the needs of the individual writer (not audience or society at large). and language fulfills true nature when it is exploited in the service of the individual's true essential self. writing is an art in which the process of discovering the true self is as important as the product - and the product is the self discovered and expressed.

metaphor transcends the ordinary non-metaphoric language.

authenticity is the main measure, which is aligned with originality in expression.

discover of the true self in expression enables individual to discover the truth in the situation which gives rise to the writing -

interesting that Freire comes into play in expressionistic rhetoric via Elbow. the connection: if we are all spared the distorting effects of society, each of our private truths will correspond with that private truth of each other because the best individual truths correspond with the same universal and external laws of everybody else. 728

metaphor. defamiliarize experience

as distinguished from psychological-epistemic of Dowst, Knoblauch and Brannon

lots of colors, unified by notion of rhetoric as a political act involving dialectical interaction engaging material, social and individual writer, using language as the agency of mediation, acknowledging historical aspect and so acknowledging reflective and ideological nature of rhetoric. 730

the real is located in dialectical relationship of observer, social group, and material.

knowledge is a product of dialectic. dialectic is grounded in language: the individual, spacial, and material are each a product of language: we cannot speak or write w/o constructing and involving all three.
language is a social phenomenon - hence the structures it exists in are social, which makes language inscribed with the social structures in which it exists - all particular to a time and cuture.

rhetoric is the study in the ways discourse is generated, which makes the study of rhetoric the study of how knowledge comes into existence.
- Berlin gets to this by making rhetoric nearly equivalent to knowledge. might be a fudge there.

the self is a social construct that emerged through the linguistic interaction of the individual, community, and material world. there is no essential authentic self beneath the material appearances. we are lodged within a hermeneutic circle, which is not impervious to change.
- I'd focus on a semiotic circle

knowledge is an arena of ideological conflict. there are no arguments from transcendental truth.
- hence, any kind of "critical thinking" is done in the laces of ideology and needs to critiqued along the way.

human fulfillment, learning as life-changing both get whacked in this system as false consciousness. 733


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