V The Rhetoric of Publics and Public Spheres ernacular oices

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Vernacular Voices
The Rhetoric of Publics and Public Spheres
Gerard A. Hauser
Vernacular Voices addresses the role of citizen voices in steering a democracy through
an examination of the rhetoric of publics—active segments of society that influence
the general climate of public dialogue—and of the associated public spheres and public opinion. Gerard A. Hauser maintains that the interaction between everyday and official discourse discloses how active members of a complex society discover and clarify
their shared interests and shape their opinions on issues of common interest.
This book sets forth a conceptual framework, called publics theory, for understanding how the rhetorical character of formal and informal communication bears on the
spheres in which publics form and the quality of the opinions they express. Hauser
extends his discussion through four case studies. The first explores the role of cultural
memory and narrative in shaping the recent political transformations in Central Europe
by contrasting events in Poland and the former Yugoslavia. The other case studies
explore attempts to redefine the character of the public sphere by the so-called Meese
Commission Report, the Carter administration’s technological understanding of public
opinion during the Iranian hostage situation of 1979–80, and the dialogue of the
American people with Franklin D. Roosevelt on the meaning of America as expressed
in letters encouraging him to stand for a third term in office.
Studies in Rhetoric/Communication • Thomas W. Benson, series editor
May 2008, 352 pages
Gerard A. Hauser is professor of
communication and College Professor of Distinction at the University of
Colorado at Boulder. He is the author
of Introduction to Rhetorical Theory and
editor of Philosophy and Rhetoric in
Dialogue: Redrawing Their Intellectual
Landscape. He also edits the journal
Philosophy and Rhetoric.
Winner of the 1999 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Prize, Public Address Division
of the National Communication Association
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