5 January 2015

Kock and Villadsen Publish Book on Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship

On December 22, Christian Kock and Lisa Villadsen published at Leiden University Press, a collection of edited papers selected from the conference on “Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship” that they organized in January 2013 in the series “Rhetoric in Society.”

According to the editors’ introduction, rhetorical citizenship means that being a citizen is not just about holding a passport or being allowed to vote. It is also about how we communicate with each other about common societal issues. Rhetorical citizenship is about how we as citizens participate in society by means of discourse. How do we talk and write about civic issues? How are we addressed? How do we listen?

The book presents studies from different academic fields of theoretical issues raised by public discourse, focusing on understanding and evaluating how its many manifestations both reflect, shape, and challenge the society it is a part of. The book also presents analyses of examples from around the world of civic communication, ranging from public hearings about same-sex marriage over polemical letters to the editor to public displays of knitting as a protest form.

The cover quotes Professor G. Thomas Goodnight, from the Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California, for the following statement: "The volume emphasizes the language-oriented rhetorical notion of citizenship and shifts us away from formal, legal-oriented, state-centric definitions. It makes a strong case for why attention to rhetoric is useful in understanding and addressing contemporary public controversies. This is a major collection of works within the space of rhetoric and communication inquiry."