Class Summary (Riker) Version 2

Class Summary (Riker) Version 2 - "The Strategy of...

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“The Strategy of Rhetoric” By William H. Riker What question does he focus on? As far as officials and elites trying to get support are concerned, William Riker is looking for a very sound theory able to illustrate a comprehensive perspective of why people do what they do. He wants to figure out some kind of laws in term of political communication. However, he points out that many stories and anecdotes are available but no generalizations are actually demonstrated. His rationality focuses on how words are delivered during a campaign and if we can define a given rhetoric as a universally relevant one looking at how people react. Why is it so important? Understanding how elites use words has a practical values for the listeners, auditors as he calls them. Indeed, if somebody is trying to manipulate us by using a particular discourse, we, as consumer of his/her rhetoric will be able to apply a holistic approach to this oratory strategy. Thus, we could be less confused and prevent us from making faulty choices. Even though Mueller argued about the rationality of voters, if campaigners make a clever use of persuasion they can obliterate this rationality or even reshape it. In the other hand, Riker’s work also represents a significant tool for elites who may learn how to aggregate preferences relevantly. Concretely, if Riker had formulated a general rule about how words persuade it would represent the perfect law of how to win any election. All in all, it has to do with the essence of democracy per se. Riker uses the rhetorical comparison between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists when they had to deal with the Constitution issue. He underlines how both parties did arrange their discourse according to their targeted audience. This highlights a gap between what we can call the “sincere” and “strategic” dialogue. This concept is illustrated as following: Sincere versus Strategic True opinions Calculations (Private) (Public) views Riker introduces the perspectives of “Dominant” and “Dispersion” principles. Observing
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HNRS 302 taught by Professor Degregorio during the Spring '08 term at American.

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Class Summary (Riker) Version 2 - "The Strategy of...

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