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Discursive Divides and Rhetorical Staging, or the Transcending Function of Oratory

Abstract : This article focuses on the speaker-addressee relation that underpins oratory. While much attention by analysts has been given over to interactional phenomena, I would like to bring back into the limelight the transcending dimension of oratory, which can be accounted for within enunciative-pragmatic theory by reference to the concept of Rhetorical Staging. Oratory is first defined as the instantiation of several discursive divides, or thresholds, which can be related to Goffman's notion of ``partition'' in the context of platform skills. These divides concern the speaker-addressee relation, based on a fundamental asymmetry, as well as the temporality and the mode of production (oral versus written). Rhetorical Staging is then presented. As a setup, it emphasizes these divides, as it activates a participant framework whereby the speaker endorses an elevated position, becoming a superspeaker-orator who appeals to a superaddressee, both of which are located within a wide-reaching community defined by shared values. Such a setup allows for a better understanding of the rhetorical force behind certain political speeches, which are revisited here (Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln).
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Submitted on : Monday, November 20, 2017 - 6:39:33 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 9:31:58 AM

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Fiona Rossette. Discursive Divides and Rhetorical Staging, or the Transcending Function of Oratory. Journal of Pragmatics, Elsevier, 2017, 108, pp.48--59. ⟨10.1016/j.pragma.2016.11.002⟩. ⟨hal-01640687⟩

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