Rhetorical Situation

1 January 2017

    What is a rhetorical situation? professionals use the phrase “rhetorical situation” in reference to any set of circumstances that involves at least one person using some sort of communication to change the perspective of at least one other person. but, what defines a situation as rhetorical? Grant-Davie considers any event, or situation rhetorical when it’s shaped by language or some form of communication. Rhetorical situations exist everywhere and we encounter them every day, in ordinary, unplanned, un-self conscious interactions. ” (Davie, p. 101)

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    Anything can be a rhetorical situation and everything is a rhetorical situation. Like the clothes you wear. Why do you wear them? What do you want people to think of you when you were them? What the person thinks is the rhetorical situation. one prime example of a rhetorical situation would be advertisements. hen you watch a commercial on TV, a business communicates with its audience ( the viewers) and in a sense persuades them to buy their product by making it seem as appealing as possible and thus making the viewers want to buy the product. for instance in the old spice commercials they try to persuade potential customers by having terry crews as the old spice man commanding the audience to “smell like a man” thus creating a rhetorical situation where in order to smell like a man one must purchase old spice.

    Imilarly Axe body spray commercials do the same thing only rather than using a famous celebrity to endorse their product, they stick by what they call “the axe effect” which basically says that by using their product a guy will be able to get any girl they please, which is obviously not true. but it creates a rhetorical situation in which one will be able to get ladies simply by purchasing axe body spray.

    Grant-Davie presents the views and opinions of other professional rhetorical analysis Bitzer Vatz and Consignee along with his own. hese three professionals all have different views on how one would define a rhetorical situation, take for instance Bitzer who defines a rhetorical situation as “a complex of persons, events , objects and relations presenting an actual or potential exigency which can be completely or partially removed if discourse introduced into a situation, can so constrain human decision or action as to bring about the significant modification of the exigency” (Davie, p. 105)bitzer argues that nderstanding situation is important because a situation invites and largely determines the form of the rhetorical work that responds to it. contrary to Bitzers views, Vatz argues that the situation itself doesn’t matter but rather the rhetor (person) is whets important in a situation, because they are the ones who create it and therefore respond to it.

    Vatz contends that without rhetors rhetorical situations wouldn’t exist. Consignee on the other hand both agrees and disagrees with both vats and bitzer. e believes that the art of rhetoric should involve integrity (supporting Vatz)- the ability of a rhetor to respond and apply a standard set of strategies effectively to any situation, he also believes that rhetoric should involve “receptivity”(supporting Bitzer)- the ability to respond to the conditions and demands of the individual situations. (Davie. p 105) Bitzer identified three important constituents of a situation: Exigence, audience and constraints.

    Bitzer defines exigence is some kind of need or problem that can be solved through rhetorical discourse, audience as those who can help solve the exigence, and he defines constraints as the individual parts of a situation which act as constraints on ones decisions and actions. Grant-Davie agrees with bitzer to an extent but he proposes an amendment to Bitzers constituents. he believes the rhetor of a situation also plays a vital role in a rhetorical situation as well. the use of rhetorical artifacts is very important in handling a rhetorical situation, because in a sense anything could be used as an artifact. rtifacts are like scientific data, or literary texts.

    They are the object of the conversation–what’s being talked about and studied and discussed together and can be defined as being evidence of something that exists as a debatable construct, so essentially the test of an argument between people such as Vatz, Bitzer, Consigny and Grant-Davie could be considered a rhetorical artifact. artifacts are used to help explain situations, they act as evidence and can be used in arguments.

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