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Culture, Catastrophe, and Rhetoric: The Texture of Political Action

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Volume 7

Studies in Rhetoric and Culture

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Culture, Catastrophe, and Rhetoric

The Texture of Political Action

Edited by Robert Hariman and Ralph Cintron

274 pages, 5 illus., 1 table, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-746-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78920-823-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (October 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78238-747-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This volume’s editors, Robert Hariman and Ralph Cintron, along with their contributors, have produced a rich source of ideas for ethnographers of political economy. The introduction and conclusion are extraordinarily powerful in themselves, and the contributors respond sensitively to that framing, making for an unusually unified collection.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“Each of these essays makes ‘visible’ just how entrenched modernity has become in a globalized society. Hariman and Cintron’s volume provides access points for uncovering the depths of modernity’s reach through a variety of methodologies. For those who study public rhetoric, this collection demonstrates how we might more productively study the local vis-à-vis the global by taking into account how rhetoric responds to moments of ‘catastrophic’ contingency.” • Rhetoric & Public Affairs

“The undoubted value of this book is how it shows a variety of actions, which can be understood as rhetorical.” • Res Rhetorica

“…the contributors here have given us a great deal to think about, especially the importance of rhetoric in the ‘texture’ of political discourse, and anthropologists can apply our methods and concepts to further elucidate and elaborate those processes and their rhetorical and practical consequences.” • Anthropology Review Database

“…an excellent collection and a fitting contribution to both the Rhetoric + Culture series and to the field as a whole… The range and inventiveness of methodological innovations in the volume is one of its primary strengths.” • Michael Kaplan, Baruch College, City University of New York

“This is a splendid collection, coherent and framed in two magisterial overviews, and so is greater than the sum of its parts. It has the capacity to enhance the subtlety and clarity of argument in the study of politics and political action across a wide variety of sites in today’s world. Both of the key ideas, the texture of political action and the primacy of catastrophe over revolution in today’s world, are very well argued and richly illustrated throughout.” • Michael Carrithers, Durham University


This volume explores political culture, especially the catastrophic elements of the global social order emerging in the twenty-first century. By emphasizing the texture of political action, the book theorizes how social context becomes evident on the surface of events and analyzes the performative dimensions of political experience. The attention to catastrophe allows for an understanding of how ordinary people contend with normal system operation once it is indistinguishable from system breakdown. Through an array of case studies, the book provides an account of change as it is experienced, negotiated, and resisted in specific settings that define a society’s capacity for political action.

Robert Hariman is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of Political Style: The Artistry of Power and, with John Louis Lucaites, No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy, and The Public Image: Photography: Photography and Civic Spectatorship.

Ralph Cintron is Professor in the Departments of English as well as Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of Angels’ Town: Chero Ways, Gang Life, and Rhetorics of the Everyday; Democracy as Fetish; and co-editor/PI of 60 Years of Migration: Puerto Ricans in Chicagoland.

Subject: Theory and MethodologyCultural Studies (General)


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