Theory Key Names
Annotated list of scholars and terms, from the Instructors Manual and margin notes in the text
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- Kenneth Burke
- Perhaps the most important twentieth-century rhetorician, this critic is the founder of dramatism.
- Marie Hochmuth Nichols
- A University of Illinois rhetorician who popularized Burke’s dramatistic methodology within the speech communication field.
- Rhetorical scholar who carefully analyzes the language of speakers and authors.
- Realm of motion
- Things moving according to cause/effect laws without purpose.
- Symbolic action
- Words as intentional action, giving life to particular motives and goals.
- A technique of analysis of language and thought as modes of action rather than as means of conveying information.
- Burke’s catch-all term for tension, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, disgust, and other noxious feelings inherent in human symbol-using activity.
- Perspective by incongruity
- Providing shocking insight by linking two dissonant words.
- Someone or something blamed for guilt.
- God term
- The word a speaker uses to which all other positive words are subservient.
- Devil term
- The word a speaker uses that sums up all that is regarded as bad, wrong, or evil.
- Confession of guilt and request for forgiveness
- Naming an external enemy as the source of all personal or public ills.
- The common ground between speaker and audience; consubstantiation.
- Dramatistic pentad
- A tool critics can use to discern the motives of a speaker by labeling five key elements of the drama—act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose.
- The dramatistic term for what was done. Texts that emphasize act suggest realism.
- The dramatistic term for the context for the act. Texts that emphasize scene downplay free will and reflect an attitude of situational determinism.
- The dramatistic term for the person or kind of person who performs the act. Texts that emphasize agent feature idealism.
- The dramatistic term for the means the agent used to do the deed. Texts that emphasize agency demonstrate pragmatism.
- The dramatistic term for the stated or implied goal of an act. Texts that emphasize purpose suggest the concerns of mysticism.
- The relative importance of any two terms of the pentad as determined by their relationship.
You can access the Key Names for a particular chapter in several ways:
- Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
- To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
- You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
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