CS. 501 200
Observations on th^-T
27pt; Paper present ed , at 'the Annual Meeting of the <
Speecli coaBiinicatioDi Association (61st, Houston,
Deceiber 27-30, 1975) \ ^
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^Analytical Criticism ; Cuiisural Baclcgrouna; Higher
Educatioln ; Historical Beviits; PersuasiTe Discourse;
*Rhetoricj *Bhet oricaX Cr itiiism? ♦SociOc ultural
Patterns; ^Theories v
♦Hoveient Theory \
that the tiietoxician is at least as well equipped, to d«a with the
concept "•oreiient'* as other writers with different : training.
Bhetoricians haVe been preoccupied with ■bving men and not societies. ■
1 ,"«acrorhetoric,»' in other words, seeas possible by ab>ttracting to a
social or cultural level the traditional principles and operations of
audience- oriented «iicrorhetoric*" There is no difficulty in deciding'
what loves in society and history— arguaents aove. Bhetoricians also
are syabolists and thus can beg the ethical problei of deter«ining
what progress really is or ought to be, speculations about loveBent
can be docuBented, giving rhetoricians *a clear indication of which
dbcuaents produced by which* advocates^ seem to be Most iaportant in
terss of producing or accomodating social^ and histojridal ■oveient.
Bhetoricians should not be bothered by problems of »eanirig; the '
rhetorician studies events in the past only as they have already been
mediated by advocates— politicians, statespen, and other historical
figures— who had the power to legislate a Movement in society with
the arguments they made. (BB)
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OBSERVATIONS ON THE THEOBY OF "MOVEMENT'
MiohMl C. McGee
Ao't Profewor of Bhetorlc and CommunlcAtlon Arts Michael c. Mcaee
Departmei^ of l^ech and Drama ^ _
Mempbla Stat« Univeraity SutB f.3*KMe1jCtv^^^^^
liteinpbia, Tenoeaaee 88152 ; t::^:%^r^ ^^'Z,:^
observations on the Theory of '^Movement"
President Cohen's comment on the state of our field, published in last
February's Spectra , has given impetus and excuse for a series of observations
on so-calle^l "movement theory." H6 didn't mention them specifically, but I
suggest that Prof. Cohen might have used "movement studies," theoretical or
critical, as examples to warrant his observation that "Because our theories
and methods are so derivative and because of our lack of theoretical and
philosophical foundations, we have difficulty In determining what is unique
or different about our perspective towards communication." For^some reason,
we have conceived that rhetoricians ate late4comers to movement theory, that
philosophers, historians, and sociologists know something about it that we do
not, and that if we study historical or social movements we must be bound by
Jipecificallynonvrhetorical meanings and intentions. Such attitudes are en-
ic^utaged^ by writers in sister disciplines, one of whom. Prof. Cohen reports,
patronizingly calls some of us "undifferentiated social scientists." I find
the sneer especially annoying because it came from a sociologist.
Philosophy, history, and sociology are wondrous studies with a potential
of producing exciting, useful knowledge. But so is rhetoric, the original
theory of communication. For two millenia rhetoricians have been producing a
theoretical foundation which should be adequate for the needs of % contemporary
writers seeking to justify a study of any coramunication process. With little
need of fashlon£ibly interdisciplinary first-aid from writers less competent
than we are. 1 know no better example of the point I would make than the
studies of "movement" done in the four sister disciplines of philosophy, hist-
ory, sociology, and rhetoric* My purpose here is to survey these studies with
an eye toward demonstrating that the rhetorician is at least as veil equipped
to deal with the concept ''movement" as other writers with different training*
The beginning is always a definition. One must understand that movement
is a process and not a phenomenon* Nearly all who read history or study so^
ciety recognize the sense of motion-in-time evident In the fact that today •s
world was built on top of yesterday world and that there is some difference
between the two.^ But the "mov^ent" from 1875 to 1975 is fundamentally differ
ent from the "movement" involved iu shifting couches from living-room to den.
The problem is that we understand motion-in -space » and we have developed a vo-
cabulary to describe it; but we do not understand motlon-ln-tlme, we have de-
veloped no special vocabulary to define \t> and we have therefore resorted to
a metaphoric transference of spatial terminology to conceptualize a temporal
process. The result has-been amusing: For two thousand years more than one
hundred major wrlter,s in four separate traditions hav^en't evftn been able to ,.■
Identify what it is that "moves" in society/ More absurd stilly they haven't
been able to decide whpther that thing is mental or material! But in spite of
such fundamental problems, writers persist in the attempt to determine the des
tinatlon of the mental/material whatever-it-is trhaC is supposed to "move" in a
dimension of time. All but Richard Weaver at least agree to call the motion
If the problem of conceiving jtiotion-in*-time were an argument taken up in
" .' * •
a court of law, the issue at bar would turn on the quality of evidence adduced
by advocates of some brand of idealism in a debate against advocates of some
kind of tnateriallfSm* Historically, the materialists would seem dominant, not
because such explanations are satlsfactbry, but because the idealists have for
a time been underwhelmed by what Liehtheim has called "on the one hand the
conservative sterility of academic positivism, and on the other, the frozen ap-
paratus of orthodox Marxism."^ By reviewing this chronic argument concerning
the historical or social "movement," I hope to make the rhetorician's stake in
so-called . "movement theory" as established and as vital for you as it is for me.
.The Crfccka were the first formally to address tlie problem of motlon-in-tlme,
In adapting so-called sophistry to his elitist argument, Plato gave direction
to prljjiltive Greek kinetic theories originally suggested by such rhetoricians
aa Heraclitus. He pictured man as in a constaijt motion, striving always for
union with the One, the Harmony 'of the universe. "Progress" was knowledge of
"truth," a nirvana described with glittering and insubstantial metaphors about
caves and suns and horses and Hades. ^ There was little solid evidence to sup-
port Plato's vision qfatemporal movement, so stock in his arguments was under-
tandably low until the Christian revolution.^ Christians, with Plato's help,
solved the problem to their satisfaction. Plato, you see, had to invent his
own fairy tales to warrant an idealist's explanation of historical and social
•4novement/' Christians had incontrovertible proof on unimpeachable authority,
God's own Word. The Bible was said to be the road-map marking "the good life"
and "Heaven" as the destination of man.'' And that mystic/idealist explanation
of "movement" continues through history in a straight line from Augustine to
Toynbee and DeChardin.^
As Renier observes, such explanations depend exclusively on an intangible
faith. If you believe that there is a Christian •'motion" in history and socie-
ty, then there is one* If you can*t muster the* faith, then there Is no possi-
bility that a Platonic/Christian theme dould be persuasive • Simply, it lacks
evidence.^ ' ^
At about the same time Plato began his soulful meanderlngs, an alternative
app^roach to the problem of ••movement'* was being developed by writers of a type
of history Cicero and Quintilian recognized as a branch of epideictie rhetoric.
Thucydldes/ ^stated motive in^ recounting the History of the Peloponne.sian War ,
^or example, was to describe what km called a" "great movement" so that his read^
ers migfit be persuaded of a series of moral lessons about the reality of power.
The contribution to movement theory of such histories is their emphasis on the
• portrayal 6f motion-in'-flme as a linkage ot events . The motion, in other words
is established because one event is connected to another roughly as cause to ef-
feet; the point of origin is "past" and the destination is "present ♦" The ulti
mate destination of "progress" is still questionable from this perspective, but
at leaat the^ assertion of a! "movement" theme in human affairs Is warranted by
evidence mote substantial than Plato's poetic flights of fancy.
As rhetoricians, it is our misfortune that we haye been intimidated by *Pla
to^s venom to the point of denying or apologizing for a kinship with so-called
"sophists" such as Heraclltus, Thucydides, and Isocrates, Had we been less in-
terested in assoclational psychology and more ini^olved in public address ^n the
eighteenth century, it is possible that we would have profited as much from our
.heritage as did Hegel. According to Lord Russell, the Greek rhetoricians were
signal influences on Hegel* s landmark argument that events in history seem ref-
lated, not causally, but "dialectlcally."^^ Hegel suggested that there was a
system of "Reason" in history, that there was a predictable and perhaps repeti-
tive pattern In the continual competition of forces iforking for change and for-
ces apparently resistant to change. Each concrete historical episode, the argu
I5cnt goes, represents an Idea moving from the point of its inception to the log
leal and inevitable conclusion called "progress*" The evidence of the Idea is
the event. Because history Is the objedtiye embodiment of Reason, the rfestina-
tion of "progress" In Hegelian dialectic la as Inevitable as a eoncluslcm In an
Marx was by far the most Influential writer to follow Hegelian hlstorlclsm.
But where Hegel had been an idealist » Marx was a materialist, seeking to use
history as a means of explaining prevailing social dislocations. His roots are
«• Much in political economy as in hlstorlclsm.^^ So Marx saw, not just a dla- ^
lecticaX tension between past and present, but rather.a dialectical materialism
which explained human xrilsery and proclaimed the inevitable approach of Utopia.
Such argument was supported by actual examples draWa from history, whereas Heg~
el* 8 argument had as warrant only his interpretation of broad swathe* cut hap-
hazardly from the undifferentiated histories of many'natlohs. Marx^s thesis is
•ore. firm, therefole. But his e!icamples seemed to be groomed to. fit to|jether in )
. the context of Marxism only. critics wondered if he had founded a sclentl-
tf ic history and thus defined motion-in- time, or if on the other hand he and all
other followers of Hegel had done ho more than rewrite history to accomodate so-
cial and political prejudices. * • ^- • I . .
Marxism is the last bastion of hlstorlclsm in the twentieth centuryl sur-
viving as an explanation of historical and social 'Imovement" in a straight line
from Marx to Sartre. But .as Lichtheim observes, one has need of much faith
to overlook what has been considered the definitive critique of hlstorlclsm:
(1) Events arc only facts, without inherent meaning unless they are interpreted.
(2) Interpreters are biased either ^y their lack of perspective and evidence re->
gardlng events they actually have experienced, or by their lack <?f evidence and
experience regarding events they observe in the past. (3) So regardless of the
skill of argiiments suggesting that a pattern or meaning exists in history^ it
cannot be said that* such tWemes exist In the events thcmsel^s,^^
.This line of argument, known generally as "the problem of mediation," has
devilled everyone w1io has worked with history in this century. It Is perhaps
most noticeable in the historian^ s liasty ^nd thoroughly undignified retreat from
determinism. 'Goldwyn Smith was arguing that the history he wrote contained "pure
morality !and true religion" less titan a hundred years ago. This was in opposi-
tion to a school of writers following Ranke In an attempt to make a "science of
history* "^^ Tl^^^^esti^^ was not abo^ut "movement" in history; everyone was then
agreed that therfe were deterministic patterns in the past. The Issue wa« Ideal-
Ism versus materialism. The Platonic/Christian tradition led writers like Smith
to see a motion of ideas through history. Others believed that "social Changes
are no more caused by thought than the flow of a river Is causec| by the bubbles
that reveal its direction to an onlooker," ^ *
It, was almost as If the problem of mediation caught professional historians
by surprisQ^, . In the wake of Namier^s intimidating essay on The Structure of Pol-
itlcs at the Accession of George III and Butterf ield's equally influential piece
on Ttie WhlK Interpretation of History , historians ran from determinism like roach
M from RAID,^^ Rather than attempt to solve the problem of mediation the whold
question was begged. Time for the historian has now become a frozen dlmension>
for the mission of the historian is conceived j^o be no more than reconstruction
of the past. No longer is history supposed to be relevant in contemporary poli-
tics. The young writer is encouraged to write "good history" because he cannot
write Objective" history, It is argued that "lessons" from-^history are to be
treated as bombast and eristic, The final step is Berlin's position, that the
past is nothing more than random and sterile facts, a series of accidents ruled
by chance and exhibiting no theme at all. ^ And so that attitude Buttcr^fleld
once called "the optical illusion or occupational disease of the research stud-^
ent" seems to have become the rule for writing histories^ ^ Now It is important
to know that a man named Homer really lived, that some place named Tray really
• cxlistedi and thnt Trojans really.dld exhibit their stupidity by taking that hol-
low horse through a hole In their walls ^ - ^
However much one may criticize their ambitions, historians are at least in*-
terested in the past as«a source of knowledge. In another discipline concerned
with so-called 'Wvement theory," this is not the case. Among^arly twentieth-
centuth sociologists addicted to academic positivism, the traditional concept of
wotlon-in-tlme-through-^hlstory gave way to the notion of ^'social trends."^'
As Ogbum originally explained it, **movement" should refer not to ideas or
events, but to particular phenomena , like the production of pig iron. If in
*• * '
1970 wc produced 234 tons, and in 1975 345 tones, there has been a quantifiable
^Wvemeat" in pig iron production and a "trend*' which can be projected into the
future* Hegel's, Rankers, and Marx's dream of locating principles which would
reveal^ the inevitable course of history was thus modified ^y the Idea of "prob-
ability" and a rigid Insistence on quantification. We should not think ot "move
iient'^ except In terms we can prove , the argument goes* And since wc can't prove
that Ideas "move" through history, then motion In history must Involve only mat-
erial things* There is nothing "inevitable" about material Increases and de-
creases, but It is possible to speak of "probabilities" with tolerable accuracy*
This Is a useful concept of motlon-in-tlme which political pundits, poll-
sters, and ecortomists have adopted in predicting the Immediate future* It has
not put the question to rest, however, because it represents the same sort of
question-begging reaction that historians had* One set of problems Is solved
with.an. Idea of "social trends": but they are not the same problems envisioned
by Plato, Thucydldes, Uegel,* Ranke, and Marx. Tcr borrow Scrlven's vocabulary,
Ogburn and associates "have proved themselves to offer a redescrl'ptlon rather
Early on, speculative sociologists such as Sorel and Le Bon attempted a
compromise to avoid the sterility of over*-speclfic conceptions of motion-in- time.
They were attracted both by the strength of evidence from which "social trends"
were drawn and by the vision and significance of the p^roblems posed by Hegel and
MarX. A notion of "collective behavior" was the result, and historical movement
became "mass" movement* As LaPiere described it, a mass movement is a "spontan-
.eous uprooting of a considerable proportion of the social population to a new
promised land." It is a "collective flight from reality," promptejji by discontent
or distress, "analogous to the movement of a sick individual to a new climate in
order to regain health*" Evidence of such motion was observable, potentially ver
If lable human behavior. Weber, like LaPiere, wrote in poetic tetms when he dis
cussed collectlvcr^behavlor, for there was an element of magic in the concept that
was difficult to express in the language of empiricism. But still he insisted
on empiricism as the method to find a description of motlon-ln-time. While Marx
thought and wrote about the titanic struggle between bourgcoise and proletariat,
and Toynbee projected ideas of a conflict between Christ and anti-Christ, empir-
ical sociologists wrote more specifically of ' the labor union movement in Yoknapa-
though the compromise has become the dominant approach to movement theory
In political sociology * it has proved to be more dilemma than solution. On one
hand, humanists continue to insist that tielther materialism nor behaviorism tan
explain the feeling of motlon-in-tlme* Is admitted that behavior patterns
■ ■ ■ \
among Individuals ara tolerably predictable. But, as Ortega suggests, the behav-
ior of man-ln- mass Is totally variable In every direction. A collection of case
studies*, thetoforc, would teveal much about particular cases and little or noth--
Ing about ''moveinent. "^^ The other horn of the dilemma develops when empirical
sociologists do attempt to transcend case studies and offer generalizations. The
generalizations often resemble the sweeping themes taken ^ by humanists such as
Ortega. What is called "tKeory," therefore, seems mere speculation because it de
pends for warrant more on its appealing argument than on observable human behav-
ior. This is a decidedly unscientific appearance for a scientist to make, so
of all the '4)ehavl6ral sciences" empirical sociology has been the most suspect,
drawing the ire particularly of inveterate empiricists who feel that their method
has been somehow betrayed.^ ' • ^ ^ ^
A small retreat from the humaj^t/scientist dilemma was attempted Mann-
^helm. He abandoned the collective behavior compromise and took up an argument
which holds tliat Ideas are determined by the life-condition in which each man is
thrust • By studying man*s perceptions of his condition (what Mannheim calls his
•^ideology''), it is poSsibXe to see gradually changing (or "moving'*) ideas. Such
ideas are a "false consciousness" of sorts, not the true and pure Reason which
Hegel saw in the past, nor tlte Laws of History which Ranke sought to Isolate.
Having leartied from Marxism's f ailure^JEo^cope with the problem of mediation, Mann
heim docs not pretend to reduce the past to a single principle nor to project it.
Into an inevitable and attractive future. The only claim is that Ideology Is de-
termined by life-conditions, and that as life-conditions change, ideologies also
change, producing an ideational "movement" through history.
The problem of mediation, however, cannot be dismissed by merely qualifying
one's conclusions. Mow docs one identify an ideology?* And after identification,
how does one describe the direction or destination of an Ideological movement?
Heberle recognizes such problems In bemoaning the fact that "one rarely finds a"
well orcanlfcd. systematic presentation" of an ideology.^^ The best evidence ,
of an ideological orientation Is found in "speeches, i^rograms, platforms, pam-
phlets, essays, and newspaper articles." But such rhetorical documents are.un-
suited to the purposes of the sociologists, to they must be rewritten to expose"
"the proclaimed idea content of the ideology" in a "reasonable" and "systematic"
way. Having thus tampered with original documents, the sociologist must then
determine what It is that he has before him. Heberle recognizes tlie difficulty
of such interpretation, but he is undaunted:
Ultimate values of a movelnent may be in harmony with the value sys-
ten of oxK own Western society or they may be opposed to it or ir-
reconcilable with It. This we can provp by rational analysis, anu
ofJile basis of a careful rational critique, we may arrive at a value
judgment, approving or rejecting the goals of the particular move-
i^nfunSir consideration. In saying that it is flif'^^^^^lly/^f^^i-
ble to do this, we do not mean to say thpt everybody -"^
that the result would be entirely beyond controveray.-
I hope you recognize the full circle we have come from rigid Insistence on em- ^
plriclsm back to the problem of mediation. Identifying a '!yalue system of our
Western society" presupposes fining a morality In Western, hlSttH^ Will that
. theme be the product of the analyst mind, or will it be efltabll sited by obser-
vation? Mannheim held that we should be skeptical of humanists such as Hegel
and ilarx because their interpretations lacked evidence. How, then, can we have
confidence in a so-called "scientific" position arrived at in the same way? He-
berle claim* to be a "scientist," but then admits that the results of Ideologic-
al analysis would be neither demonstrable nor repllcablc. .Consider that absurd-
Ity. "Undifferentiated social, scientists" In communication theory might at times
be writing for the Journal of Irreproduclble Kesults > but we are none of us as
foolish as thos<i who patronize us, for we do not a4vertlse an intention to un*-
dertake nbn-replicable studies before we start* 1
The whole history of sociology 's^ involvement w^tli so-called "movement
theory," from uncompromising positivism to almost pocitic treatments of ideology,
is a tautology which has chased itself for 75 years* .^So too we have coine full
circle with the entire problem of motion-'in-time. The problem was posed by rhet-
oricians who used the past as a warehouse of exempla fr<3(tft which public arguments
could be manufactured ♦ Afte r two thousand years of mentkl gymnas tics, we are
told by sociologists thai: the best evidence of "movement" In history and society
is contained in those self-same rhetorical documents*
- Let me be as clear ais possible about the position of rhetoric in the multl-
iddscipllnary effort to understand motion-in-time. A man facing the reality of
gonial or historical movement might characterize his predicament this way: "I
am persuaded of the justice of this endeavor, and I intend to join my fellows
in, defending the age-old principles of liberty." We understand what he says as
a commitment to action. But the more we attempt to translate such a statement
Into testable specifics, the less we understand, for we remove ourselves from
the immediate reality of the situation. A philosopher or historian, for example,
would be led t o the words "justice" and "age-old principles of liberty." Such
phrases could imply that in thlnl^ing about the conditions of life, the speaker
has deygloped a firm, reasoned convictljSn which he, out of a sense of ethical
dxxt^fi se<^ to implement or preserve. With such translation, the issue becomes
What Is justl^H^or Whal^^^lberty? or Are liberty and justice exhibited as
themes in history? Similarly, a sociologist might be drawn to the words "join
>^lrly fellows," bt because of the predisposition of his method, to the attempt to
describe "this endeavor" with ^^mpirical precision. Such phrases could imply
that the speaker Is familiar with a whole range of social conditions and for^
ces which he has verified by observation or experience, and that he Intends to
act with ajgroup in defense of or in opposition to those consltlons. With this
translation, the issue becomes What conditions caused discomfort? or What group
action can alleviate the discomfort? With either philosophical, historical, or
sociological translation, the issue has only been confused, for the most import--
ant term is neither "liberty," "justice," "age-old principles," "join," nor "en-
deaypr," It is ^he phrase "I am persua ded," ^ Though such knowledge is relevant,
an analyst who offers an explanation based on history, morality, or social con-
ditions misses the fundamental, immediately real connections between persuasion ,
"rhetoric," and the "moving" of societies to action and histories toward "prog-
ress . "
1 cannot sketch the uniquely rhetorical theory of movement for you because
rhetoric has never been written in those terms. Rhetoricians have been preoccu-
pied with moving men and not societies. It does not seem farfetched, however,
ta suggest that the processes of moving men is different only in degree from the
processes of moving societies. A '^macrorhetoric," in other wonds, seems possi-
ble by abstracting to a social or cultural level the traditional principles and
operations of audience-oriented "mlcrorhetorlc. " With this possibility in mind,
let me list briefly our advantages in coping with the problem of motion-ln-time.
First, we have no difficulty in deciding what moves in society and history.
Arguments move. The fact that in persuading real men to take action in a real
•ituatlon John Kennedy quoted Lincolri (who quoted Jefferson, who quoted Burke,
who quoted Locke), demonstrates a motlon-ln-^tlnie.
I V 13
Second, we are symbolists and thus can beg the ethical problem of determln-
Itig what "progress" really Is or ought to be. The direction of "progress" for
us can be a strictly semantic matter of finding the meaning of the word at one
particular moment • If twelve rhetorical documents produced in the same society
over a century are organized according to thfeir age, and if the working meaning
of "progress" apparent in document one differs from that in document twelve, we
can then be confident that the working, popular notion , of "progress" has "moved"
by the expansion or contraction of the word's meaning In specific contexts. 'The
symbolic movement of "progress" would be ^^i^bvious-^andHprwiix^tlve-^s^be-incr^ase^
in the production of pig iron Ogbum used as an example of "social trends."*^
Thirds we can document our speculations about movement. Rhetorical critics
have spent most of this century compiling a history of public ^address in Anglo-
America which, if it does nothing else, gives us a clear indication of which doc-
uments produced by which advocates seen to be most important In terms of produc-
ing or accomodating social and historical movement.
Finally, because of the nature of our documentation, we should not be both-
ered by the problem of mediation. That problem develops when a writer such as
Marx imposes "meaning" on the past in attempting to "prove" his pet theory con-
cerning what human society ought^to be^. A rhetorical analysis < would be differ-
ent because the "meaning'i of the past^would be determined ,^JiatJby the analyst:,,^
but by the rhetoric he studies. Vlhen I show that Kennedy used Lincoln's words
to extend a traditional meaning of "progress," for example, it is not I who cre-
*ed "meaning" in the past. It was Kennedy, the reality of the rhetorical sit-
uationi In other words, is such that the problem of mediation should never come
up. The rhetorician studies events in the past only as they have already been
mediated by advocates who had the power to legislate a "movement" in society
and history with the arguments they made.
^ 1 r: • ■ -
These are our advantages In dealing with so --called "movement theory/' pur
Weaknesses will be apparent only when we have played the game longer than
have. But the ultimate strength or weakness of a rhetorical theory of movement
Is heyond the scope of this paper. My purpose has been to Indicate thafc^we are
as well qualified as any to deal with the concept of motion in time. are not
philosophers, historiansi or sociologists — and for that we can be ths^hkful.
With an emphasis strictly on the rhetorical > we have an advantage In coping with
long-sfanding problems not enjoyed by others with different training. Perhaps
Pr of. C o hen is c orrect ii\ obs e rving that o ur^-^eo ries an d-me thods ar ^- morc deriv -
ative than they should be. But this Is not a necessary condition. Con$|iderlng
the past failures I have noted, what do we need to borrow frpt^ philosophy? Noth-*
ing, I would suggest, except good intentions, an open min4, ahd someClnterestlng
problems. What do we need to borrow from history? Nothing,
the past, especially the hundreds of thousands of rhetorical
preserved, then systematically ignored, by the professional \
do we need to borrow from socfl^logy? No more than a few hundred hours of comput-
er time so that onir "undifferentiated social scientists" mighfl proceed to solve
some of the problems sociologists can*t even define without driwing a tautology.
I believe, except
istorlans. And what
^^An increasing number of significant studies, perhaps hampered by differ-
Ing vocabularies, seem to be pecking at this conception of motlon-in-time, parr-
ticularly in the ^^t three years. See John F. Cragan, "The Cold War Rhetoric-
al Vision, 1946-1972," Ph. D. dissertation, University of MlnncBOta, 1972; Rob-^
ert L. Ivie, "Vocabularies of Motive in Selected Presidential Justifications
for War," Ph. D. dissertation, Washing^6^ State University, 1972; Vtoodrow W.
Leak^, Jr., "Ideological Rhetoric: Systebic Arguments oh War and Peace In High
Sqhool American History Textbooks," Ph. D. dissertation. University of Florida,
- laza; Michael C^cGee, "Edmund BurkelaJBeautiful Lie; An^^Exploratlon of the
Relationship between Rhetoric and Social Theory," Ph, D. dissertation, I^niverr
slty of Iowa, 1974; Sandra E. Purnell, "Rhetorical Theory, Sqcial Values, and
Social Change: - An Approach to Rhetorical Analysis of Social Movements? with
Case Studies on .the New Deal and the New Left,M Ph, D. dissertation. University
6f Minnesota, 1973; Charles R. Reed, "Image Alteration in a Mass Movement: A
Rhetorical Analysis of the Role of the Log College in the Great Awakening,"
Ph. D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1972; and Gary C. Woodward, ^^Con^
densations: The Rhetorical Functions of Key Words and Scenes," Ph. D. disser-
tuition. University of Pittsburgh, 1973. '
*^See McGee, "Beautiful Lie," pp^ 429-67; and Charles W. Kneupper, "Rhet-
or:^ as Reality Construction," Ph. D. dissertation. Bowling Green State Univer-
Herbert W. Simons, "Dealing with Disciplinary Diversity," Spectra 11 ^
(February 1975): 2. "As we move from the core of our field ... we sfiould
take pains to acknowledge that rhetoric ^pid^jipmrnunicatlon are merely perspect-
ives on actions apd transactions that couW well be viewed from a dozen other
ways. Our sense of identity can correspondingly be clarified if we recognize ^
/ - ' ^ I
that we are not logicians, aestheticians, ethiclsts, lltisraty critics, histor-
lans, sociolo^iata of , knowledge, etc." y
• % ^ 15
^Hetman Cohen, "Presidential Message." Spectra 11 (February 1975): 2.
^In ray opinion, sevjtral otherwise admirable studies have been flawed by
wholesale acceptance particularly o£ sociological and social psychological def-
initions. See, e. g., John Vaite Bowers and Donovan Ochs> The Rhetoric of Agi-
tation and Control (Reading, Mass*: Addison Wesley, 1971), esp. pp* 1-15; and
Donna Fcld, "The Rhetorical Implications of Social Movement Theory,'* Ph. D. dis-
sertation, Purdue University, 1972. A broad cultural insistence that everything
be explained in the terms of orthodox Christianity once impeded the development
of-the sclences-lJtjcause-some alternatives, being '*heret-ical,-' ^/ere never taken
up. If there wag 4. good thing^ln the world, according to Augustine, the^ Holy
Scripture contained itf'^nd if there was an evil thing, it was therein condemned.
So in contemporary rhetorWl theory such age-old ntions ais "social reality,"
"rhetorical fantasy," and "rhetorical vision" are legitimized only when an in-
slghtf ul writer such as Bormann draws some connection between them and recent
findings in social psychology, ts there nowcartiew "heresy," that of offering
rhetorical theses which are explicitly non-sodiologlcal? See Augustine, On
Christ ian Doctrine , trans. J. F. Shatfi 2t42.63; and Ernest G. Bormann, "Fant-
asy and Rhetorical Vision: The Rheto^cal Criticism of Social''Rtality, " C|JS
58 (Ueceuiber 1972): 396-407.
^ith tongue only a little way In cheek. Weaver asserted that civilization
has'b^en in a steady decline since the fourteenth century wh6n Occam's "fateful
doctrine of nominalism" changed "the whole orientation of culture" and put us on
"the road to modern empiricism." Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948; Phoenix Books, 1967), p. 3.
George Llchtheim, The Concept of Ideology and Other Essays . Vintage Books
(New York: Random House, ,1967), p. 296.
^Plato, Corglas, trans. Benjatnin Jowatt, 515-27; Phaedrus » 244-57.
^See Karl Popper, the Open Society and Its Enemloa ,^ Vol« 1: The Spell
of Plato , 4th ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Preas, 1962; New York: Har-
per Torchbook, 1963)*
^See Michael C. McGee, **Thematic Reduplication in Christian Rhetoric," QJS
56 (AprU 1970): 196-204. ^ .
^Se6 Arnold Toynbee, A Study of History , 10 vols. (London: Clarendon Press,
1935-54); and Pierre Teilhard, de Chardln, The Phenomenon of Man , trans. Berna-rd
Wall- (New York: Harper & Row, 1959).^
^See G. J. Renier, History, Its Purposes and Method (London: Allen & Un-
win, 1950), pp. 215-19.
^See T. C. Burgess, "Epidelctlc Literature." University of Chicago Studies- V
In Classical Philology 3 (1902): 92.
Thucydidcs, History_pf the Pelopdngcsian War , trans. Richard Crawley » rev*
R. Fcctham, 1. 1. 1. See also, A. Geoffrey Woodhead, Thucydldes on the Nature of
Power, Martin Classical Lectures, no. 24 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press fo^f
Oberlln College. 1970), pp. 3-28,
^^See Bertrand .Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon
& Schuster, 1945), pp. 38-47. The then-practical applicafj^ns or the Greek no-
tion that reality exists in contrary motions is. clarified by Dieter. See Otto
A. Dieter, "Stasis," SM 17 (1950): 345-69.
^Hce G. W. F. Hegel, lectures on the Philosophy of History (1837), trns.
W* K. Marriott; Vol. 16 of Greet Books of tlie Western Worlds gen. ed. Robert M.
Hutchint (Chicagor William Benton f or Enoyclopedia Btlttanica, 1952): 15^l--369.
See al»o, Bert rand Russell, The Problems of philosophy (New York: Oxford Univ-
eralty Press, 1912} Oxford Paperbacks, 1959), pp. 141-43. Hegel*s personifica-
tion of Reason in History must be read against the bapkdtop of the Age *of Reason
r ■ . ^
jmA Mith Jiti eye toward the ultimately romantic translations of the idea. See
Basil Willey, the Eighteenth-Century Background: gtudies^on the Idea of Nature
In the Thought of the Period (Lotidon: Chatto & Windus, Ltd., 1?40; Boston: Bea-
\ con Paperback, 1961); Carl Becker^ The Heavenly City of the EightcentVCentury
^Philosophers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1932; Yale Paperbound, 1966); ^nd
Frledrich Nietzche, The Use and Abuse of History (1873), trans. Adrian Collins,
.Wbrary of the Liberal Arts, 2nd ed. .(Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1957), esp.
^^See Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (1847) trans, with an introduc-
tion by Frederick Engels (New York: International Publishers, 1963). ,
^^See F. N. Hou«e, The DcvclopmGnt of Sociology (New York: ^fccraw-Hlll,
1936), pp. 100-178; and'M. M. Bobcr, Karl M^rx'a Interpretation of History . Har-
vard lEconoraic Studies, vol. 31 (Cambridge: Harvard University Pre«s, 1927; Nor-
ton Library, 1965) » pp. 29-66, 297-315.
^^In terras of his Impact on the evolution of Bolshevism, the most influen-
tial critic of Marx's thesis was Ernst Mach, the inventor of empirlo-crlticism,
an Hegelian and idealist's explanation of connections between events and raotion-
In-tlmc, See John T. Blackxnor?, Ernst Mach; Ills Work, life and Influence (Ber-
keley: Univerisity of California Tress, 1972); and Vladimir 1. Lenin, Material-
im and Emplrio-Criticism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1947) • i
*'See Jean--Pa^l Sartre, Critique de la ralson dlalettique (Paris; Galli-
•ard, 1960). '
^^Llchthelm, pp. 297-98. See also, Robert A. Hlsbet/ Social Change and
History (New York; Oxford University Press, 1969; Oxford Paperback, 1970), p.
^^Gdldwyn Smith, Lectures on the Study of History (Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, 1873), p. 44* For an assessment of l^nke's position, see George
P. Gooch, History and Historians of the Nineteenth (jlentury (London; ^Longmans--
Green, 1952), pp. 9V97.
'^Shls is Lord Russell's phrase (History Philosophy , pp. 596-97) to describe
the determinism of modem liberalism generally. The ideas came predominantly from
Marx, Darwin, and Freud. By 1895, historian Daniel Brinton felt the call so strong
that he Issued the follo^ng statement of faith: "The t^me will come. • . when
•ound historians will adopt as their guide the principle^^ and methods of ethnolog-
ic science, because by these alone can they assign to the Isolated fact its right
place in the vast structure of human development." OudtedTLn Kenneth E. Bock, A
ceptance of Histories (^rkelcy: University of California Press, 1956), p. 28,
.See Sir Lewis B. Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of
George III , 2 vols. (London: Macmlllan & Co., 1W9); and' Herbert Butterfield,
The Whig Interpretation of* History (1931), The Norton Library (New York: W. W.
Norton & Co,^ 1965). In the last ten years a few eclectics have, reasserted
the i>osslbility of a science of hliitory, 4)Ut they have not been writers of hist-
orty, choosing instead to defend their argument with philosophical speculations
rather than the evidence of actual events* See Ernept Cuneo, Science and Hist-
cry (London: Cassell, 1963); and William Todd, History as Applleft Science (De-
trolt: Wayne State University Prcsa,^ 1972) ' t
See Herbert J. Muller, The Us es of the Past (New York: Oxford UniversJL-
■ ' —
ty Press, 1952), pp. 27-44.
Butterfiiad, pp. 64-89, 107-52. Even the Durants, respected geiieralists
of the highest order, apologize for drawing The Lessons^ of History with the em-
barrassed admission that "only a fool WQUld try to compress a' hundred centuries
into a hundred pages of hazardous conclusions." Will and Ariel. Durant, The Les-
sons of History (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968), p. 13.
See Isaiah Berlin, "History and Theory: Tlie Concept of Scientific Hist-
ory >" in Gcngralizations in Historical Writing ^ed: Alexander V. Riasanovsky
and Barnes Riznik (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Pres^, 1963), pp«
Herbert Butterfield, George III and the Historians (London: Collins,
1957) > p. 2,15. There is wide recognition of the need for overview in history,
e off-ice of the gcneralist is usually seen to be only the correlation of
iiilctos\oplc research, making the research student in effect the arbiter of fact,
• , . • _ ■ 20
of truth, and the dictator even of pattern (for could a pattern Be tolerated^
which was inconsistent with, the* conclusions of speciali^^t research, however
Ignorant of the gcstalt the specialist may be?) It is significant that thoise
who acknowledge the need for generalist histories also feel obliged to justify
thdse hist^orlcii as if the •enterprises were a /priori suspect. See, for example,
Jaques Barzun and Henry Graff, The Modern Resfearchet (New YotU: Harcourt-^Brace,
1957), pp. 196-226.
"^^Thls is Kcnier's point (p. 215): ''A metaithprlc argument ♦ • • or a^
enumieration of myths neither leads us to truth nor to knowledge."
Those who Established the theoretical framework for contemporary socio-
logical studies were members of an elitist club professing academic positivism
and directed towatd yiddlng the world of an unseemly lot of superstitions, stereo-
types, myths, and morals; The demise of symbolists was announced (1 hope prema-
tutely) by Gel^er when he declared ^11 -l^atements of judgemental or justificatory
Intent to be "eplstemologlcally lllegttimate"--cven such a judgement as "This
trose smells good'M Sec Theodor Gelger, Selected Papers on Social Conttol and
Mass' Society > trans, and ed. Jlenate Mayntz, The Heritage of sociology Series
(Chicago: University of Chicago^ Press, 1969; Phoenix Books, 1969), pp. 132-
142. See also Hans L# Zetterberg, On Theory and Verif ication In Soclolof;y >
3rd ed* (New York: Be^dmlnster Prefis, 1966), esp. pp. 87--156.
,^^illlam F. Ogburn, Selected Papers on Culture and Social Change , ed,
Otis Dudley Duncan, The Hcritage^of Sociology Series (Chleago: University
of Chicago Press, 1964,* Phoenix Books, 1964), pp. 103-108*
.^^Micha61 Scriven, "Views of Human Nature," in Behaviorism and Phenomen-
ology; Conttastinf^ fiases for Modern PsycholbRy . ed: T. W. Wann (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1964; Phoenix Books, 1965), p. 176.
^^Sec Georges Sorel, Reflections on Vlolcnce > trans • T. t. Ilulme (London:
Allen & Unwin, 1916j New York: Peter Smith, 1941); and Gustave Lc Bon, The
Crowd; A Study of the Popular Mind .(^ndon: Macmillan & Co., 1896; Compass
Books with a special introduction by Robert K. Merton, 1969) . See also A. T.
Helford, et al.. Society; Problems and Methods of Study (London: Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1967). Seven of the nine listed "approaches and methods of study"
acceptable in contemporary British sociology involved the observation or manip-
ulation of belyivioral variables in the society inunedlately surrounding the scho-
^^Rlchard T. LaPiere, Collective Behavior (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1934),
p. 504. ' •
''^Max Weber, On Charisma and Institution Building , ed: S. N. Eisenstadt,
The Heritage of Sociology Series (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1968; Phoen-
ix Books, 1968), esp. pp. 48-65, 253-267.
''^The change from "historical" to "mass", movement had been underway in a
few arguments form almost sixty years, but it first reached the text-book stage
in 1930. Within fifteen years , the ttew attitude toward "movement" had become
l'tradltional"l See, reap., Jerome Qavis, Contemporary Social Movements (New
York: Applcton-Ccntury, IQ^nV, and Hnrrv W. La idler 7 Social-Econom ic Movements
(New York: Cromwell, 1946). ^
t> ^^See Jose Ortega y Gassett, History as a System , trans. 11. .Weyl (H6w YorkJ
W. W. Norton & Co., 19^1} Norton Library, 1962).
^^Sec, e. , Maurice R. Davie, Tlie Evolution of War; A Study of Its Role
In Early Societies (New Haven: Yale University Vreas, 1929), and in more con-
temporary times, notg^;Ha41ey Cantril's treatment of "ideology" in The Psychology
of Socials Maiyements , 2nd ed. (New York*. Wiley, 1963), pp. 3-77.
^^Throughmit this century empirical sociologists have taken pains to argue
for the scientftlc nature of sociology, as if the claim to science was a priori
dubious —.which, of course, it is. See, e. g. , Florian Znaniecki, The Method ^ •
of Sociology (New York: Holt-Rlnehart, 193A); and in more contemporary times.
John A. Rex, "The Spread of the Pathology of Natural Science to the Social Sci-
ences," The_Soci^logl£ajL.Re^^ Monograph 16 (September 1970): 143-62.
- ^^See Karl Mannheim, It^olo^y and Utopia; An Introduction to the Sociology
of Knowledge , trans. Louis Wlrth and Edward Schlls/ International Library of
Psychology, Philosophy and Scientific Method (New York: Harcourt-Bracc, 1936;
Harvest Bookn, 1952).
•'^Rudolf Heberle, Social Movements: An Introduction to Political Soclolop.y
(Hew York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, i951), p. 25. At the time of ay- last detail-
€d research into this area (1972), Heberle 's text was considered a "classic" and
led the market In spite of its age. It remains, to my knowledge, one of the few
overview statements of an extremely complicated, micro-oriented study. See also
Reltihard Bendlx & Seymour M. Llpset, " The Field of Political Sociology" in Pollt;
leal Sociology: Selected Essays , ed: Lewis A. (Joeer (New York: Harper & Row,
1967), pp. 9-47. .
; "^^eberle, p. 32 • Empirical sociologists have attempted both quantitative
and qualitative measures of content in rhetorical documents, but even the "qual-^
itatlve'* methods are treated in the language of science as "abstract empiricism/'
See Papl F. Lazarsfeld, Qualitative Analysis; Htstotical and Critical Essays
(Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1972). Quantitative measures called content analysis
have bfeen attempted since 1926. For the latest approach to such of which I am
aware» see P. J. Stone, et al., The General Inquirer; A Computer Approach to
Content Analysis (Gambridge: M. I. T. Press, 1966). As Rex indicates, a prem-
ise of structural analysis in empirical sociology has been that movement-ln-tlme
can be described "only as symbolic 'modes of expression* or * embodiments^' of
•meaning.* The task of the sociologist then is . . . one of seeking to 'under-
stand' these itieanings. The techniques necessary for such understanding, however,
are quite distinct from those of science." John A. Rex, Key Problems of Socio-
logical Theory (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1961), pp. 156-57. I wonder if
the "techniques" which are necessary but outside the meanings and intentions of
science and sociology might be rhetorical?
^^Though he bound himself with the problems (and benefits) of determinism,
this was Griffin's basic premise , in the first "movement study" tried by a rhet-
»tlcal critic. See Leland Griffin, "The Anti-Masonic Persuasion: A Study of
Public Address in the American Anti-Masonic Movement," Ph. D. dissertation,
Cbrnell University, 1949, pp. i-lv. In more recent times, the argument is being
expanded greatly, and fruitfully. See Joseph A. Munshaw, "The Shape of Oral
Thought: Toward the Viewpoint of History as Rhetoric," Ph. D. dissertation,
University of Missouri, 1972.