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Generic Criticism Lecture and textbook notes covering generic criticism, its origins, purpose, selecting an artefact, analysing the artefact (generic description, generic participation and generic application), formulating the research question and writin

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ENGL 104
Michael Hancock

Generic Criticism January-28-11 11:20 AM  Rooted in the assumption that certain types of situations provoke similar needs and expectations in audiences, and call for particular kinds of rhetoric. Certain situations occur often, perform similar acts on similar audiences and call for a specific kind of rhetoric.  Seeks to discover commonalities in rhetorical patterns across recurring situations.  Purpose is to understand rhetorical practices in different time periods and places by discerning similarities in rhetorical situations and the rhetoric constructed in response to them: how people create individual instances of meaning and value in structured discursive fields  Genre: refers to a distinct group, type, class or category of artefacts that share important characteristics that differentiate it from other groups.  A rhetorical genre is a fusion of three different kinds of elements so that a unique kind of artefact is created o Situational requirements, perception of conditions in a situation that call forth particular kinds of rhetorical responses o Substantive and stylistic characteristics of the rhetoric - features chosen by the rhetor to respond to the perceived requirements of particular situations. Substantive characteristics are those that constitute the content of the rhetoric; stylistic characteristics constitute the form. Content = substantive; form = stylistic. o Third element is the organising principle: notion that serves as an umbrella label for the various characteristic features of the rhetoric. Is the label for internal dynamic of the constellation that is formed by the substantive, stylistic and situational features of the genre.  Greek Origins: o Deliberative/political rhetoric, aimed to persuade audience o Forensic speaking, issues of justice, methods for defending and accusing o Epideictic, ceremonial discourse. Praise or blame to others  Modern Origins o Edwin Black: suggested generic criticism as an alternative to Neo Aristotelian. Limited number of situations that needed a rhetor, limited number of responses a rhetor could possibly make, and the recurrence of a situational type provides a critic with information on the rhetorical responses available in the situation. o Lloyd Bitzer: focused on recurring situations o A 1976 conference focused on form over situation; presenters at the conference spoke about how repeated use of images, metaphors, arguments, structural arrangements, and configurations of languages could be thought of as comprising a genre.  Significant form in Rhetorical Criticism o Significant form was recurring patterns in discourses of actions. Patterns include repeated use of images, metaphors, arguments, structural arrangements,  Anthony Pare and Graham Smart o Define genre as distinctive profile of regularities across four dimensions: textual features (styles of text, modes of argument); regularities in composing process (gathering and analysing of information); regularities in reading practices (where, when and why a document is read); social roles performed by writers and readers o Paré and Smart focused on how rhetorical genre operates in an organizational setting (a business, or office). They focused on textual features (styles of text and modes of arguments), regularities in when and where the document was read, regularities in composing the document, and the social role played by the people using and creating the documents. o Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian scholar working mainly in the early half of the twentieth century, argued that our everyday conversations and speeches could be considered genres—even spontaneous conversations had generic Selecting an Artefact  Depends on the kind of analysis: generic description, generic participation, and generic application. o Generic description: artefact should be variety of texts that share some rhetorical similarities. Can come from different time periods, have different forms. Anything that seems similar in nature and function o Generic participation: something that looks like it should belong to or has been assigned to a particular genre but doesn't fit. o Generic application: artefact to assess how well it conforms to the genre of which it is a part. Should lead you to question how it functions in the context of its genre. Analysing the Artefact  Three options that lead to different contributions to understanding genre. Generic description, participation and application.  Generic description: o Examines various artefact to see if a genre exists; process is inductive o Purpose is to define a genre and formulate theoret
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