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Rhetoric, Knowledge and the Public Sphere


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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Cezar M. Ornatowski - Knowledge and surveillance society


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Cezar M. Ornatowski

San Diego State University

Knowledge and surveillance society

1. Introduction

“If you need to be convinced that you’re living in a science-fiction world,” Bruce Schneier points out in a recent book, “look at your cell phone.”

Your cell phone tracks where you live and where you work. It tracks where you like to spend your weekends and evenings. It tracks how often you go to church (and which church), and how much time you spend in a bar; and whether you speed when you drive. It tracks – since it knows about all the other phones in your area – whom you spend time with, whom you met for lunch, and whom you sleep with. The accumulated data can probably paint a better picture of how you spend your time than you can, because it does not have to rely on human memory. (Schneier, Bruce: Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World. Norton: New York 2015, p. 1–2)

Our computers also constantly gather data about us, including what we read, watch, and listen to, as well as what we think, insofar as our thoughts lead us to search the Internet: “On the Internet, surveillance is ubiquitous. All of us are being watched, all the time, and the data is being stored forever.” (Schneier 2015, p. 32) “We are living in a golden age of surveillance.” (Schneier...

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