Toward a new critical materialist rhetorical methodology : ideographic tracking of family values from eugenics to neoliberalism
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Tracing <family values> as a central ideograph, this study offers a methodological innovation that engages both material/nonhuman and symbolic/human forces to account for the ways that arguments become rhetorical. The key contribution of this dissertation is ideographic tracking, a methodology for tracing evocative terms that combines the symbolic focus of ideographic analysis with the digital affordances of iconographic tracking that allow researchers to collect, manage, and rhetorically analyze relationships between large numbers of texts. This methodology offers the field of rhetoric and composition a practical process for applying a new critical materialist lens to the complex relationships between materiality and symbolic communication that comprise rhetorical ecologies. Topically, this study explains the persistent persuasive power of regressive social policy arguments in a technologically advanced, post-Civil Rights world. That is, by demonstrating how <family values> emerged from a pre-history that was economically invested in the impoverishment of minorities and women, the moralistic, legacy narrative to which <family values> appeals is exploded. This study shows that maintaining a flexible, vulnerable workforce has been an ongoing priority for U.S. policy-makers and that the moralistic legacy narrative of <family values> has helped distract public attention from these economic interests.
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