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Rhetoric, Knowledge and the Public Sphere

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Edited By Agnieszka Kampka and Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska

Public deliberation depends on how skillful communicators are in establishing their version of what is known to be publicly acceptable. This volume provides rhetorical analyses of institutional websites, political speeches, scientific presentations, journalistic accounts or visual entertainment. It shows the significance of rhetorical construction of knowledge in the public sphere. It addresses the issues of citizenship and social participation, media agendas, surveillance and verbal or visual manipulation. It offers rhetorical critiques of current trends in specialist communication and of devices used when contested interests or ideologies are presented.
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Agnieszka Kampka, Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska - Rhetoric and the public sphere: Making a case for a knowledge society

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Agnieszka Kampka

Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW

Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska

Opole University

Rhetoric and the public sphere: Making a case for a knowledge society

1. Introduction

The phrase “the knowledge society” often functions as a metaphor that attempts to grasp either the current socio-economic situation or the society’s future orientation. On the one hand, a knowledge society can be defined as a set of conditions in which knowledge – understood as our abilities to access, process, analyze, store and manage information – becomes the main element of the social capital. Many institutions and individuals now seem devoted to fostering that kind of knowledge-intensive social arrangement. However, the so-called knowledge societies are also marked for many new and unresolved problems, divisions and obstacles, which need to be confronted to enable their future development.

Optimists say that new technologies and scientific solutions will give us new means of communicating high quality knowledge more democratically, as epitomized for example by wikinomics. (Tapscott, Don/ Williams, Anthony D.: Wikinomics. How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio: London 2006) Pessimists, on the other hand, point to such issues as climate change, depletion of resources, and great migrations in order to claim that neither technology nor science has helped us to solve any of those crises. In fact, there are a few possible scenarios of dealing with each of the above issues, and none of them is based on unquestioned facts, calculations and diagnoses....

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