The Method of Rhetorical Homologies, Illustrated in Texts of Ritual Injury

Barry Brummett
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In a recent book, the author develops a method called rhetorical homology that identifies formal resemblances across texts and experiences based on discursive structures. This essay illustrates that method in application to a group of texts and experiences concerning ritual injuries. Encompassing social slights and injuries in actual experience is a widespread discursive practice which offers motivations for overcoming the injury. This paper identifies the rhetorical homology, or formal structure, linking films as diverse as "The Longest Yard", "Drumline", and several Laurel and Hardy comedies such as "Two Tars" and "Big Business". The structure also underlies stories of Christian martyrdom, televised professional wrestling, and the African American practice of "playing the dozens" or "signifying".

Keywords: Homology, Rhetoric, Discourse, Form, Kenneth Burke
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Barry Brummett

Charles Sapp Centennial Professor in Communication, Department of Communication Studies Chair, Department of Communication Studies, The University of Texas-Austin

Barry Brummett received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1978). He has held faculty positions at Purdue University and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently the Charles Sapp Centennial Professor in Communication and chairs the Department of Communication at the University of Texas-Austin. His research and teaching interests are in the rhetoric of popular culture, Kenneth Burke, media criticism, rhetorical theory and criticism. His books include "Rhetorical Dimensions of Popular Culture", "Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric", "Rhetoric of Machine Aesthetics", "The World and How We Describe It: Rhetorics of Reality, Representation", "Simulation", "Reading Rhetorical Theory", "Rhetoric in Popular Culture", and "Rhetorical Homologies".

Ref: H05P0110