P100 Political Discourse [Autumn 1999]

Politics 100: Political Discourse
Type  Site Site Site Site Site Site 
University of
Chicago Press
Titles on Rhetoric

This is a discussion-based seminar on political language. Does politics rely on assertions and responses? What is the significance of putting a political claim one way, rather than another? Is the political world constituted through speech and writing? What is it to persuade? to reason? to perform a symbolic act? Are meanings negotiated? Students will test these notions on examples of politically 'salient' speech, and write four five-page papers.
Ball. Idioms of Inquiry
Corbett & Connors. Classical Rhetoric
Der Derian. International Theory
Goffman. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
Lakoff & Johnson. Metaphors We Live By
White. When Words Lose Their Meaning

Fall 1999. 2.00-3.10 MWF.
Earth & Marine Sciences B210

Politics 100: Political Discourse

Professor Bruce Larkin.
--Office Hours: MW 12.30-1.30
--Email: china@cats.ucsc.edu

Course Information on the Web

In addition to this syllabus, available on line at http://www.learnworld.com/COURSES/P100/P100.Syllabus.html, there is a course newsletter called the BroadSite of Politics 100. Notices for class members only will be available at http://www.learnworld.com/COURSES/P100/ClassroomUse/Notices.html.


The works listed here as ‘required’ should be purchased, or used from Reserve. The chapters from White will be discussed on Fridays. White and Corbett will be read in sections through the course. The other required works will be drawn upon for the topics shown below.

  • [L] Ball, Terence W. [ed], Idioms of Inquiry: Critique and Renewal in Political Science (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987)
  • [L] Corbett, Edward P. J. and Robert J. Connors. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 1998). These excerpts are marked below as Rhetoric.
  • [L] Der Derian, James. International Theory: Critical Investigations (London: Macmillan, 1995).
  • [L] Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York: Anchor, 1990). [First published 1959.]
  • [L] Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
  • [L] White, James Boyd. When Words Lose Their Meaning: Constitutions and Reconstitutions of Language, Character, and Community (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). Indicated below as White.

    Key: “L”: Available at The Literary Guillotine. “Web” for documents on-line. “D”: For discussion. “R” Recommended.

    Week 1. Language. Conversation. Discourse.

    Author Citation
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 1-52.
    [L] White Introduction and Chapter 1. A Way of Reading.
    [D] Gadamer, Hans Georg “Language as the Medium of Hermeneutic Experience” and §(A) “Language and Logos” of “The Development of the Concept of Language in the History of Western Thought,” in Truth and Method (New York: Crossroad, 2nd. rev. ed. 1989), pp. 383-418.

    Week 2. Communicative action.

    Author Citation
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 52-100.
    [L] White Chapter 2. Poetry and the World of Two. [Iliad]
    [D] Chriss, James J. “Habermas, Goffman, and Communicative Action: Implications for Professional Practice,” in American Sociological Review, August 1995, v 64 n 4, pp. 545-XXX. [© 1995 American Sociological Association. © 1995 UMI Company.].
    [D] Habermas, Jurgen
    (Thomas McCarthy
    The Theory of Communicative Action (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984), Volume 1: pp. 75-141.
    [D] McCarthy, Thomas. “On the Pragmatics of Communicative Reason,” in David Couzens Hoy and Thomas McCarthy, Critical Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), pp. 63-100.
    [L] White, Stephen K. “Toward a Critical Political Science,” in Terence W. Ball [ed]., Idioms of Inquiry: Critique and Renewal in Political Science (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987) pp. 113-136.

    Week 3. Narrative construction of reality.

    Author Citation
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 101-174.
    [L] White Chapter 3. The Dissolution of Meaning. [Thucydides]
    [D] Apter, David E. “Yan'an and the Narrative Reconstruction of Reality,” in Daedalus, Spring 1993, pp. 207-232.
    [D] Hasian, Marouf, Jr.
    and Lisa A. Flores
    “Children of the Stones: The Intifada and the Mythic Creation of the Palestinian State,” in The Southern Communication Journal, Winter 1997, v 62 n 2, p. 89-XXX. [© 1997 Southern States Communication Association. © 1997 UMI Company.]
    [D] Hay, Colin “Narrating Crisis: The Discursive Construction of the 'Winter of Discontent'”, in Sociology, May 1996, v 30 n 2, p. 253(25). [© 1996 British Sociological Association Publication Ltd (UK). © 1996 Information Access Company.]
    [D] Lustick, Ian Review article: “Writing the Intifada: Collective Action in the Occupied Territories,” in World Politics, July 1993, v 45 n 4, pp. 560-594. [© 1993 Johns Hopkins University Press.]
    [D] Oliverio, Annamarie “The State of Injustice: The Politics of Terrorism and the Production of Order,” in International Journal of Comparative Sociology, June 1997, v 38 n 1-2, p.48(15). [© 1997 E. J. Brill (The Netherlands). © 1997 Information Access Company.]

    Week 4. Metaphor.

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 4. The Reconstitution of Language and Self in a Community of Two. [Plato’s Gorgias]
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 174-214.
    L Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
    R Chilton, Paul Security Metaphors (New York: Peter Lang, 1996).

    Week 5. Sequence.

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 5. Making the Reader Make His Language. [Swift’s A Tale of a Tub]
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 214-292.
    [D] Abbott, Andrew “Sequence Analysis: New Methods for Old Ideas,” in Annual Review of Sociology, 1995, v 21 p.93(21). [© 1995 Annual Reviews Inc. © 1995 Information Access Company.]
    [D] Schegloff, Emanuel A “Reflections on Talk and Social Structure” in Boden, Deirdre and Don H. Zimmerman [eds], Talk & Social Structure: Studies in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. 44-70.
    [D] Wilson, Thomas P “Social Structure and the Sequential Organization of Interaction” in Boden, Deirdre and Don H. Zimmerman [eds], Talk & Social Structure: Studies in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. 22-43.
    [D] Zimmerman, Don H.
    and Deirdre Boden
    Preface and “Structure-in-Action: An Introduction”, in Boden, Deirdre and Don H. Zimmerman [eds], Talk & Social Structure: Studies in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. ix-xi and 3-21.

    Week 6. Framing. Organizing concepts.

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 6. Teaching a Language of Morality. [Johnson’s Rambler Essays]
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 292-336.
    [R] Ball, Terence W. “Is There Progress in Political Science?,” in Ball, Terence W. [ed], Idioms of Inquiry: Critique and Renewal in Political Science (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987) pp. 13-44.
    [R] Goffman, Erving Frame Analysis: an Essay on the Organization of Experience (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986). [Reprint. Originally published 1974 by Harper & Row, New York.]
    [D] Martin, Robert W. T. “Context and Contradiction: Toward a Political Theory of Conceptual Change,” in Political Research Quarterly, June 1997, v 50 n 2, pp. 413-XXX. [© 1997 University of Utah, Political Science Department. © 1997 UMI Company.]
    [D] Roth, Michael S. Review of Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse, in American Historical Review, April 1997, v 102 n 2, p. 427. [© 1997 American Historical Association. © 1997 UMI Company.]
    [D] Yee, Albert S. “The Causal Effects of Ideas on Policies,” in International Organization, Winter 1996, v 50 n 1, pp. 69-108. [© 1996 World Peace Foundation; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. © 1996 Information Access Company.]

    Week 7. Political figures at work.

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 7. “Conversation, Rational and Playful”. [Austen’s Emma]
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 337-395.
    [Web] US Congress. The Cox Committee Report.
    [Web] Central Intelligence Agency. Comment on Cox charges.
    [Web] President‘s Intelligence Advisory Board.
    Report on Chinese activities.
    [Web] The New York Times
    Reports on the Cox charges. 7 September 1999.
    [R] Beschloss, Michael R.
    [ed & com]
    Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964 [NY: Simon and Schuster, 1997]. [© 1997 Michael R. Beschloss].
    [R] Kutler, Stanley I. [ed. & commentary]. Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes (New York: Free Press, 1997).
    [R] Burr, William [ed.]. The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow (New York: New Press, 1998).
    [L] Edelman, Murray Politics as Symbolic Action (New York: Academic Press, 1971).

    Week 8. What does this mean for the discipline and subdisciplines?

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 8. Making a Public World. [Burke‘s Reflections]
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 395-448.
    [L] Ball, Terence W.
    Idioms of Inquiry: Critique and Renewal in Political Science (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987).
    [L] Der Derian, James International Theory: Critical Investigations (London: Macmillan, 1995).

    Week 9. Persuasion.

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 9. Constituting a Culture of Argument. The possibilities of American law.
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 448-499.
    [D] The Federalist, #s 1, 10, 14-16, 39, 47, 49, 51, and 78. In many sources, for example, Frederick Quinn [ed], The Federalist Papers Reader (Washington, D.C. : Seven Locks Press, 1993).
    [D] Huan Kuan
    (Esson M. Gale [trans])
    Discourses on Salt and Iron. Reprinted from Sinica Leidensia, Vol. II (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1931) and the Journal of the North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Excerpts from the introduction (pp. xxvi-xxx) and Chapters IV-VI, pp. 25-39.
    [D]   The Putney Debates, 28 October 1647 [excerpts], in A. S. P. Woodhouse [ed], Puritanism and Liberty Being the Army Debates (1647-9) from the Clarke Manuscripts (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951), pp. 52-95. [© 1951 The University of Chicago Press.]
    [D] Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. In Robert B. Strassler [ed], The Landmark Thucydides (New York: The Free Press, 1996), pp. 37-50 and 79-85 [war dialogues], 175-184, and 350-357 [Melian Dialogue]. These are §§ 1.65-1.91 and 1.138-1.146, §§3.35-3.51, and §§5.83-5.116.

    Week 10. Self-presentation and demonstrative acts.

    Author Citation
    [L] White Chapter 10. Afterword.
    [L] Rhetoric pp. 499-543.
    [L] Goffman, Erving The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York: Anchor, 1990). [First published 1959.]
    [R] Goffman, Erving. Strategic Interaction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1970). [Only UCSC copy seems to be at NRLF: B 3 992 480].

    Further Reading:

    Author Citation
    [-] Berger, Peter L. and
    Thomas Luckmannthor
    The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Doubleday, 1966).
    [-] Blanton, Tom [ed] White House e-mail: The Top Secret Computer Messages the Reagan/Bush White House Tried to Destroy (New York: New Press, 1995).
    [-] Chilton, Paul, Mikhail V. Ilyin and Jacob L. Mey [eds]. Political Discourse in Transition in Europe 1989-1991 (Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1997).
    [-] Edelman, Murray Political Language: Words that Succeed and Policies that Fail (New York: Academic Press, 1977).
    [-] Edelman, Murray The Symbolic Uses of Politics (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1974).
    [-] Franck, Thomas M. and
    Edward Weisband
    Word Politics: Verbal Strategy Among the Superpowers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972).
    [-] Hirschman, Albert O. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970).[UCSC McHenry HM 131.H566].
    [-] Hoy, David Couzens and
    Thomas McCarthy
    Critical Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994)..
    [-] Weisband, Edward and
    Thomas M. Franc
    Resignation in Protest: Political and Ethical Choices Between Loyalty to Team and Loyalty to Conscience in American Public Life (New York : Grossman Publishers, 1975).

    Course Requirements

    In principle, you must attend every meeting of the class. Your narrative evaluation may show the number of absences. If you believe that an absence should be excused, you may--as this is a course in political rhetoric--make your case to your peers when you return to class; and they may, by secret ballot, excuse you.

    You are expected to have prepared the assignment before the class at which it is discussed. Preparing yourself to make thoughtful observations and arguments on the assigned texts is one of two central efforts required of you. The second is to write four 5-page papers, on topics which the instructor will assign. Papers are due on the Fridays of the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th weeks. [We will discuss in class whether you prefer to submit hard copy or post your papers on the Web.]

    Office Hours

    MW 12.30-1.30 in Cowell 183. Cowell 183 is an office in the Cowell Library, looking out on the Cowell Fountain.

    The easiest way to contact me is by email to larkin@learnworld.com.