Searching for an Audience?


“The creation of knowledge is a task beginning with self-persuasion...and ending with the persuasion of others” (Gross).  


Proposal (p5):




For this assignment, you are to advocate that something should be done to address or alleviate a problem you are evaluating, or to advocate for action that will help forward or enact the proposal your evaluating.


When arguing something should be done, it must be argued that it is both:





Your evaluation should convince your audience that a situation is a problem (or in the case of a more positive evaluation that a plan/proposition/program/etc. is a GOOD IDEA or working well).


Your proposal will be the balance of the paper that you feel should be devoted to:

(1) showing the particular components of your proposal, especially focusing on: different components required for implementing a  plan (steps involved, the procedures in raising awareness, negotiating costs, and sustaining or enforcing a proposal).  For example, if you've evaluated the appointment of the Emergency Financial Manager in Detroit as a good/bad idea and your proposal is to support/resist this... what steps need to be taken? what kind of support needs to be generated and how? who specifically should be involved? what kind of funding will be required?  what actions have been taken elsewhere that make sense here? 


(2) advocating your plan or for persuading an audience to act on that problem requires motivating them (making it seem a worthy effort, giving them feasible steps, proving that it will work or make a difference). 



Discover or Create an Audience:  As you work out the rhetorical situation for this writing, pay particular attention to the audience for your proposal. You should be able to specify an actual audience and forumfor which you would present project 4/5 "eval-uosal".


You will need to consider carefully how differences in audience and forum will influence the specific kind of thesis and support you need to present (that's right you'll need a thesis for project 5 too, a thesis which may be combined with p4 as we revise after the break).



Change your Purpose:  Consider your evolving purpose.  You are shifting from the core goals of the evaluation (see 4 pillars Nov 17) to persuading a group to take action or to create grassroots support for an action that someone other than the audience would take. Your audience should be asked either to undertake the action proposed or to support the action proposed.



Start thinking through Rhetorical Tools:  As you develop your proposal argument, make effective use of all the strategies that we have been practicing in earlier papers, rhetorical analysis, ethos, pathos, the stasis questions (evaluation, definition, cause/consequence, resemblance,) exigence, dissoi logoi (raising counter arguments), synecdoche, eutripsmus, and of your your ethos as it is developed through effective 'interaction' with research.



Resemblance: You will almost certainly want to find out how similar policies are enacted in similar situations. You will certainly need to be aware of competing solutions.


Cause/Consequence:  Supporting the feasibility of your proposal may require investigating implementation, procedure, cost and enforcement.




In composing this argument, you may decide to use the conventional arrangement, presenting the problem first, demonstrating its nature and negative consequences, then moving to your proposed solution, demonstrating its nature and beneficial consequences, and finally dealing with matters of feasibility. However, all the options for arrangement that we have been practicing in earlier essays are available to you. Audience accommodation in all aspects of composing—in invention, arrangement, and style—is essential to an effective proposal.



How do we invent Proposal arguments?


Much like evaluations, proposals are created based on specific criteria and follow a basic structure:

"We should (not) do X, because of A, B, C"  


Proposals are typically supported by three pillars:

1. Convincing the audience that a problem exists (largely accomplished in p4)

2. Discovering and effectively presenting the particulars of your proposal (your key aspects to the solution)

3. Justifying why your proposal should be enacted (proving that your proposal is feasible and will have positive outcomes).



Other Stasis Arguments (beside evaluation and Definition) that often Appear in Proposals:

(remember Stasis, just means: common modes of proceeding in argument)


Proposals often make use of both Categorical and Resemblance arguments. Both work by putting the item (proposal/plan/organization etc) in question in relation to another item for which the audience already has strong feelings, or which they might find inspiring.


Proposals also almost always make use of Cause/Consequence arguments, as a rhetor needs to account for both the positive and negative consequences of a planned proposal.

For example: Consider for instance several claims that might be use to argue that WSU should abolish its fraternity and sorority system: (This is a "Priority Problem" proposal - it would not be hard to abolish the system - the hard part is convincing necessary stakeholders that it should be abolished):

Invention Questions: 

You can start by considering how you will make your proposal:



More Brainstorming Questions:


Questions to Develop a Refutation Section for a Proposal Argument


Potential outlines for proposals:

Classic Proposal


Build around the Three Major Lines of Reasoning for Proposal Arguments

Generalized Patterns/Arrangements that can work for the whole project (evaluation...proposals)

Picture this:



Potential Ways to Organize a Proposal Argument



Proposals in the Public Sphere:


Finding an Audience:

Mapping Discourse Communities

and (New Concept) the Rhetorical Public Sphere


In Class Reading: 

"Rogue Cops and Health Care: What Do We Want from Public Writing?"  Susan Wells 



Eminent Public Domain: Seizing Discourse Communities and/or The Public Sphere


Finding Potential Audiences/Forums:



Option One: Create your Rhetorical Public Sphere


From Wikipedia's entry:

"Gerard Hauser proposed a different direction for the public sphere than previous models. He proposed that public spheres were formed around the dialogue surrounding issues, rather than the identity of the population that is engaging in the discourse. Emphasizing the rhetoricality of public spheres foregrounds their activity."


In order to communicate within the public sphere, "those who enter any given arena must share a reference world for their discourse to produce awareness for shared interests and public opinions about them".[34] This world consists of common meanings and cultural norms from which interaction can take place.[35]


The rhetorical public sphere has several primary features:

1. it is discourse-based, rather than class-based, institutionally based, or discipline based.
2. the critical norms are derived from actual discursive practices. Taking a universal reasonableness out of the picture, arguments are judged by how well they resonate with the population that is discussing the issue.
3. The audience is not 'EVERYONE' but more of an intermediate public (not just experts, but expertise is leveraged).  It is a conversation that goes on across a population as a whole, the public sphere is composed of beginners and intermediate dialogues that merge later on in the discussion (people are not 'totally new to the subject').


The rhetorical public sphere was characterized by five rhetorical norms from which it can be gauged and criticized. How well the public sphere adheres to these norms determine the effectiveness of the public sphere under the rhetorical model. Those norms are:

1. permeable boundaries: Although a public sphere may have a specific membership as with any social movement or deliberative assembly, people outside the group can participate in the discussion.
2. activity: Publics are active rather than passive. They do not just hear the issue and applaud, but rather they actively engage the issue and the publics surrounding the issue.
3. contextualized language: They require that participants adhere to the rhetorical norm of contextualized language to render their respective experiences intelligible to one another.
4. believable appearance: The public sphere must appear to be believable to each other and the outside public.
5. tolerance: In order to maintain a vibrant discourse, others opinions need to be allowed to enter within the arena.

In all this Hauser believes a public sphere is a "discursive space in which strangers discuss issues they perceive to be of consequence for them and their group. Its rhetorical exchanges are the bases for shared awareness of common issues, shared interests, tendencies of extent and strength of difference and agreement, and self-constitution as a public whose opinions bear on the organization of society."


Begin creating your own Rhetorical Public Sphere by Blog-rolling

You will be creating your own Blog for project 6 anyway.  So you might get two-birds stoned at once...

Create a blog-roll:  a series of links to at least 4 other blogs or sites that are dealing with your topic (at least three should be forums that accept feedback, or commentary in some form), where you can cross-post a link of your blog as a response or comment


For example:  If you create as Sports Blog (or team up to create one) you can blog-roll the South End's sports blog and post a link to your blog there in a comment box.

Option Two: Find a Specific Forum

If you think you can find a very suitable forum online, on paper, or in person, pick one space where you will (most likely) post your evalu-osal project either in whole, or in part.


If this is the case, do a more detailed audience analysis, and consider whether you need to devote part of your proposal to assessing the discourse community, before you try to connect with them.


Some options: 

Response 13


Is that Thunder?


Really Slow Food