Spring 2017, Volume 8
Welcome to the Volume 8 of Relevant Rhetoric: A New Journal of
Volume 8 includes a Special Issue: Exploring Persuasive Attack Theory
We had numerous submissions for our call for the special issue of Relevant Rhetoric dedicated to Exploring Persuasive Attack Theory. Here we highlight the three essays that were accepted for publication. The first essay, written by William L. Benoit reviews relevant literature and synthesizes the research on Persuasive Attack. The essay offers an “extended theory” and provides a comprehensive typology of Persuasive Attack based on this synthesis. The second essay emerges from Southern Utah University. The authors, Stein, Barton, and Paul apply this extended theory to the Persuasive Attacks leveled against Melissa Click after the campus protests at the University of Missouri. Finally, Martha Cheng provides an application of Persuasive Attack theory by examining attacks in two realms: Mixed Martial Arts and politics. She examines attacks of two reputable “trash talkers”: Conor McGregor and Donald Trump, and applies the theory of Persuasive Attack to their discourse.
In addition, we had numerous essays submitted for Relevant Rhetoric in the past year. Two essays that were accepted are included in this volume. They are on diverse and topical issues: portrayal of women in film and the role of Donald Trump’s discourse in helping him win the Presidential election.
Each submission is carefully peer reviewed by members of the Editorial Board. Thank you for your submissions and for your support. We are accepting submissions for consideration for Volume 9 (2018) of Relevant Rhetoric: A New Journal of Rhetorical Studies. To be considered for publication, submissions must be received by October 15, 2017. Please mail submissions and queries to:
For submission information, please visit the relevant tab from the menu. If you’re looking for previous volumes/articles, please visit the Archives tab. The other tabs provide information about the journal’s philosophy, submissions for future volumes, and the Editorial Board.
Essays in Volume 8, 2017: Special Topics Exporing the Theory of Persuasive Attack
|William L. Benoit, Criticism of Actions and Character: Strategies for Persuasive Attack Extended
--Persuasive attacks pervade society. Such attacks are messages (or components of messages) that are intended to, or have the effect of, discrediting the target. Persuasive attack is another phrase for accusations, criticisms, complaints. Attacks can be primarily directed toward character and/or policy. At times these topics are intertwined; for example, an attack on character can be reinforced by identifying offensive acts committed by the target. An attack on policy can influence perceptions of the target’s character. This essay adduces reasons for studying persuasive attack, reviews the rhetorical and communicative literature on this kind of discourse, and proposes a typology to extend the Theory of Persuasive Attack to include criticism of character as well as behavior. The strategies advanced here are illustrated by excerpts from the 2016 Republican primary debates.
Kevin A. Stein, Matthew H. Barton, and Wm. Bryan Paul, 140 Characters to Say "I Hate You": Melissa Click, Racism, and the Media Circus at Mizzou
|Martha S. Cheng, Bums and Bimbos: Persuasive Personal Attack in Sports and Political Discourse
-–--This paper explores persuasive attacks against character in the press conferences of sports figure Conor McGregor and 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. These case studies highlight personal attack as counterpart to the affirmation and purification of the speakers’ images, as possessing epideictic qualities, and as deploying specific strategies. Strategies include pejorative labeling of the person, providing evidence for attacks, and belittling through mocking and patronizing. Differences between the two speakers’ attacks are also discussed, as are further considerations.
Additional Essays in Volume 8 (2017)
Erika M. Thomas, Crimson Horror: The Discourse and Visibility of Menstruation in Mainstream Horror Films and its Influence on Cultural Myths and Taboos
Eric Sentell, The Art of Polarizing Ethos: An Analysis of Donald Trump’s Campaign Rhetoric