Would someone please identify a social protest movement from the past 100 years, briefly describe its goals, and describe its rhetorical strategy using the dimensions of Social protest rhetoric.
To what extent, if any, did its rhetorical strategy advance its goals?
Rhetorical theory has moved far past Aristotle’s origins. Besides its original concentration on language and logical argument, Rhetoric now takes into account the “agent,” by which is meant the power to express and avenues of expression. It also deals with several “canons,” such as the assembling of support, the arrangement of that support, and the verbal or visual expression of that support. Fairly apparent and available in modern times are the two major social rights areas of gender and race. The rise of “woman power” was in large part the rhetorical results of feminist authors of the 60’s and 70’s. Martin Luther King’s rhetoric for Black Power has been studied in detail for five decades. Perhaps a fresher example of “Social Protest rhetoric” might be the recent interest in Victim’s Rights, a new perspective on how society should deal with illegal activity. In parallel to the ongoing dilemma and argument about criminals’ rights, there have been rhetorical arguments about compensating victims for the damage they have suffered when a crime is committed. White-collar crime, where the victim is a class of people rather than an individual, such as bank fraud or mortgage fraud victims made homeless have drawn much rhetorical support, by giving the homeless an “agency,” a means of voicing their protests, in television media (strong in visual rhetoric – witness the pictures of makeshift tents under overpasses, etc. – a rhetorical selection – and the rhetoric of shame aimed at rich bankers and investors on trial. The rhetorical cause/effect arrangement leaves little doubt as to the injustice.