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‘The Piety of Degradation’: Kenneth Burke, the Bureau of Social Hygiene, and Permanence and Change

Quarterly Journal of Speech, Vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 446-468, 2004

24 Pages Posted: 19 May 2010  

Jordynn Jack

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Kenneth Burke’s employment with the Bureau of Social Hygiene informed his rhetorical theory in the 1930s. Between 1926 and 1930, Burke researched criminology and drug addiction and ghostwrote a book for Colonel Arthur Woods, Dangerous Drugs. An investigation of archives indicates that this research left its mark on Burke’s Permanence and Change (1935): in particular, Burke’s concept of piety can be understood better in relation to the Bureau of Social Hygiene. An account of Burke’s criminological research shows that piety, as a rhetorical concept, involves both embodied and discursive acts. Because it involves mental and affective factors, piety forms the basis for metabiology.

Keywords: Kenneth Burke, rhetoric, rhetorical theory, identification, piety, metabiology

Suggested Citation

Jack, Jordynn, ‘The Piety of Degradation’: Kenneth Burke, the Bureau of Social Hygiene, and Permanence and Change (2004). Quarterly Journal of Speech, Vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 446-468, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1525986 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1525986

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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