Kenneth Burke’s Constabulary Rhetoric: Sociorhetorical Critique in Attitudes Toward History

Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 66-81, January 2008

17 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2009

See all articles by Jordynn Jack

Jordynn Jack

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Date Written: January 1, 2008

Abstract

Scholars have shown that Kenneth Burke’s research on drug addiction at the Bureau of Social Hygiene shaped his rhetorical theory in Permanence and Change, but less attention has been paid to another facet of this research, criminology, and its influence on Attitudes Toward History. In Attitudes, Burke uses a criminological framework, called the‘‘constabulary function,’’ to characterize the rhetorical strategies political and economic elites use to bolster a deteriorating social order while deflecting attention away from broader, systemic problems. The constabulary function and its attendant terms - alienation, cultural lag, transcendence, symbols of authority, and secular prayer - provide a vocabulary for sociorhetorical critique. I examine how Burke’s theory of the constabulary function grew out of his criminological research, consider how that theory informs

Keywords: Kenneth Burke, rhetoric, critique, theory, society

Suggested Citation

Jack, Jordynn, Kenneth Burke’s Constabulary Rhetoric: Sociorhetorical Critique in Attitudes Toward History (January 1, 2008). Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 66-81, January 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1525898 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1525898

Jordynn Jack (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jordynnjack.com

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