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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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Anne E. Porter - ‘Responsibilizing’ the youth: The rhetoric of civic participation in the World Bank’s 2009 climate change essay competition

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Anne E. Porter

Providence College

‘Responsibilizing’ the youth: The rhetoric of civic participation in the World Bank’s 2009 climate change essay competition

1. Introduction

Rhetorical analysis concerns itself with the investigation of communicative practices that are essential to deliberative democracy and “rhetorical citizenship.” (Kock, Christian/ Villadsen, Lisa: “Introduction, Citizenship as a Rhetorical Practice”. In: Kock, Christian/ Villadsen, Lisa (eds.). Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Deliberation. Pennsylvania State University Press: University Park, PA 2012, p. 1) In contemporary society, complicated issues like climate change require the involvement of multiple stakeholders. Because of the international, as well as intergenerational, dimensions of climate change, the views of global youth are especially vital in discussions of this issue – and, in recent years, major transnational actors have conducted various kinds of knowledge-making activities to promote and/or frame environmental awareness among global youth. Among these activities, essay contests often figure prominently under the broader umbrella of youth participation or civic engagement, but the rhetorical mechanisms of such contests have rarely been scrutinized. In this chapter, I examine the ways in which the rhetoric of youth civic engagement operated in the World Bank’s 2009 youth climate change essay competition. Using the tools of rhetorical analysis, I examine documents published by the World Bank during its “Knowledge for Development era,” (Enns, Charis: “Knowledges in Competition, Knowledge Discourse at the World Bank during the Knowledge for Development Era”. Global Social Policy 15 (1), 2015, p. 61) as well as...

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