‘The Piety of Degradation’: Kenneth Burke, the Bureau of Social Hygiene, and Permanence and Change
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Quarterly Journal of Speech, Vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 446-468, 2004
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: Kenneth Burke, rhetoric, rhetorical theory, identification, piety, metabiology
Date posted: May 19, 2010