Joining the Carnival

Guess, I'm going to have to catch up with some of the others.

First Impressions:

1. ) Looks like Sharon Crowley is taking up the gauntlet thrown down by Stanley Fish. I know this book was likely a long time in the making, so I don't attribute it to any particular cause but her curiosity (and I say this as one of the guys who helped her situate her innumerable books and computer accessories during her brief tenure at Penn State). Still, I welcome this foray into a field ripe for study.
2.) I don't detect the anger towards fundamentalists that some of the other bloggers detect. She is alarmed by the very real efforts of apocalyptic fundamentalists to change the very grounds of civic argumentation and political deliberation. She states her affinity for liberal democratic traditions, so I don't translate her critique of fundamentalism as hatred, or even extreme distaste, as much as a sober realization that it threatens something dear. That she is offering "Civil Discourse" as the third way, seems measured and even haltingly gracious.
3.) I wanted to see much more work on her sense of how different civic arenas work (p. 18). I have worked for years to supplement Aristotle's dismissal of the epideictic to the private sphere with other types of rhetoric (Augustine, etc.). Crowley's mention of Hall's articulation theory seems fruitful, but it could have used a lot more detail (especially in genre or in situ ethnography). As a former leader of a Bible study, and a sometimes-participant in things like "Magic Chef" and "Tupperware" parties (and avoider of "Landmark" and "Amway" events), I think that exploration of the fora and genres of the living room, the bible study, etc. is key to understanding how different kinds of articulations survive and grow. I agree with Jeff Rice when he writes "to turn the argument back on the fundamentalists (”if you are against murder, how can you be for capital punishment”) feels weak." Finding instances to lodge resistance and to inscribe civil discourse into the repetitive fabric of the oikos is key.

More later. Gotta go teach.

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