Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric for Social Movements by Sharon McKenzie Stevens

By Sharon McKenzie Stevens

Explores the connection among social activities and rhetorical concept and perform.

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By asking us to recognize and engage the activist dimension of our teaching, criticism, and theory, however, they also evoke future action by calling for changes in what we do, not just how we think. Conclusion In 1991, European poli-sociologist Margit Mayer called for a more complicated and integrated approach to the study of social movements. She called for social movement theorists to develop an approach through which they: emphasiz[e] cultural and symbolic dimensions and the construction of meaning, thereby making it possible to also capture those current social movements or aspects of movements, which are not about participation in the American mainstream, either economically or politically, but rather challenge the validity and hegemony of the dominant power structures and cultural systems.

Her position in the place of Nashoba or the place of her public apparel opened a space for alternative relationships to form (see underwood 2006). Her body rhetoric was not only an expression of her situatedness but also opened an arena for vernacular performances that explored alternative meanings for conjugal and gender identity. Vernacular performances of positionality by a movement’s actors carry rich implications for the layering of social meaning among those who are part of the movement and for the ways they appropriate the discursive space in a situated place to construct the movement’s meaning.

Stevens, Coogan, Todd, and Cain all argue we need to Introduction 19 employ our scholarly work in pedagogy if we hope to create avenues for our students to make learning material through civic engagement, and Malesh enacts such change in her praxis-oriented analysis of vegan rhetorics. In the collection’s response chapter, William DeGenaro explores some of these convergences and tensions, challenging and extending other contributors’ insights by considering the role of class and religion in the shifting politics of identity formation and solidarity building.

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