Critical Rhetoric| Between Critical and Rhetoric: McKerrow’s Contribution to Contemporary Critical Practice

Brandon M. Daniels, Kendall R. Phillips


The introduction of critical rhetoric into the discourse of rhetorical studies constituted an important rupture with previous traditions within the field. Emerging out of a complex mix of political, philosophical, and academic trends, critical rhetoric produced significant shifts in the ways in which criticism was understood and practiced. The shifting and transformations did not, however, stop with the term’s introduction in 1989. In this essay, we trace the development of critical rhetoric through three additional phases: the Marxist challenge presented by Dana Cloud; the shift to vernacular discourse in the works of Kent Ono and John Sloop; and the recent development of participatory critical rhetoric in the works of Michael Middleton et al. We pursue this historical tracing to demonstrate the points of rupture and discontinuity by which critical rhetoric has been transformed.


critical rhetoric, Foucault, rhetorical criticism

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