HeatherC's blog


“We are happiest when we can plunge on and on. And any thought of turning back, of curbing rather than aggravating our cult of ‘new needs,’ seems to us suicidal, even though the situation is actually the reverse, and it is our mounting technologic clutter that threatens us.” (Kenneth Burke, On Human Nature: A Gathering While Everything Flows 1967-1984, pg. 61)

The Classifying Animal

“We have said that man, as a symbol-using animal, experiences a difference between this being and that being as a difference between this kind of being and that kind of being. Here is a purely dialectical factor at the very center of realism. Here, implicit in our attitudes toward things, is a principle of classification. And classification in this linguistic, or formal sense is all-inclusive, ‘prior’ to classification in the exclusively social sense.

Major Project - Burke and Identification at ABC

My major project will consist of a paper that I hope to present at the 79th Annual International Association for Business Communication (ABC) conference in October. I have presented at this conference before and so I am familiar with the audience and feel that introducing Burke and his theory of identification would be of interest.

The Ambiguity of Identification and Division

“Why ‘at odds,’ you may ask, when the titular term is ‘identification’? Because, to begin with ‘identification’ is, by the same token, though roundabout, to confront the implications of division.” (Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives, pg. 22)

Interpretation of Synecdoche

“Sensory representation is, of course, synecdochic in that the senses abstract certain qualities from some bundle of electro-chemical activities we call, say, a tree, and these qualities (such as size, shape, color, texture, weight, etc.) can be said "truly to represent" a tree. Similarly, artistic representation is synecdochic, in that certain relations within the medium "stand for" corresponding relations outside it.” (Kenneth Burke, A Grammar of Motives - Appendix D: Four Master Tropes, pg. 508)

Supersizing the Mind

Clark, Andy. Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print. 286 pages. ISBN: 978-0-19-977368-8. $61.51 hardcover, $18.25 paperback (Amazon.com).

Words and Things as Signs

The reduction of ambiguity initiated by the privileging of motion sidesteps the problem Burke sees as fundamental: words are symbolic acts that both transform the objects of thought and subsequently act to reclassify them, making experience itself mutable and thus subject to rhetorical manipulation. Put another way, while pure pragmatism would hold that words are signs of things, Burke wants to show, as he does later in Language as Symbolic Action, that things are also signs of words (see ‘What Are the Signs of What,’ passim 359-79).

The Paradox of Reduction

“You can reduce everything to communication—yet communication is extremely complex.” (Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, pg. 263)

Perspective by Incongruity

By itself, any terministic screen will be a reduction to some degree, filtering some aspects of reality from view while revealing others. Given that paradox, Burke proposes that we systematically disrupt the stability and unity of terministic screens using a variety of methods. (David Blakesley, The Elements of Dramatism, pg. 100)

Interpretations of War Through Photography

But the most "natural" aesthetic adjustment to war conditions I have seen so far is in the impressive exhibit of photographic murals, Road to Victory: A Procession of Photography of the Nation at War, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City during the summer.


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