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Uncommon topics: on the topics of location and rhetoric in the practice of political community.

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Abstract:

Unlike recent studies in the fields of cultural studies or geography the concept of location as a category of social or cultural analysis does not figure prominently within contemporary political theory. In the investigation of the formation of political community geographic or cultural location may provide important insights into the coherence of the boundaries of community. Emphasizing location in the study of political community, however, also prompts a reconsideration of the role of location in classical political thought. My paper will explore Aristotle?s notion of topos and Giambattista Vico?s theory of sensus communis in their treatments of classical rhetoric. I will focus on how the ideas of topos and sensus communis at the foundation of rhetoric contain a particular theory of location. Topoi are the topics, mental locations, or commonplaces, organized by the speaker in the act of rhetoric. Meticulously outlined in Aristotle?s Rhetoric, they serve as the core forms or ?containers? of rhetoric, memorized by a speaker and called upon during a speech or argument. Location as a concept in political theory assists not only in understanding the margins and limits of a community, but also in critically assessing how communities come together. In the philosophical thinking of Aristotle and Vico rhetoric is a form of speech that brings about agreement within a community, even in the face of the contestation of argument. My analysis of topos demonstrates the function of rhetoric in the structuring of community and the quality of political discourse.

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rhetor (253), aristotl (81), topoi (79), topic (78), argument (75), truth (74), dialect (49), locat (45), vico (45), form (43), possibl (43), practic (42), persuas (41), polit (39), audienc (38), communiti (36), ethic (32), must (31), common (31), orat (30), probabl (30),

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Keywords: Rhetoric, Aristotle, Giambattista Vico, Location, Political Community, Topos (Topoi), Sensus Communis
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MLA Citation:

Bonura, Carlo. "Uncommon topics: on the topics of location and rhetoric in the practice of political community." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-27 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p64993_index.html>

APA Citation:

Bonura, C. , 2002-08-28 "Uncommon topics: on the topics of location and rhetoric in the practice of political community." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-27 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p64993_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Unlike recent studies in the fields of cultural studies or geography the concept of location as a category of social or cultural analysis does not figure prominently within contemporary political theory. In the investigation of the formation of political community geographic or cultural location may provide important insights into the coherence of the boundaries of community. Emphasizing location in the study of political community, however, also prompts a reconsideration of the role of location in classical political thought. My paper will explore Aristotle?s notion of topos and Giambattista Vico?s theory of sensus communis in their treatments of classical rhetoric. I will focus on how the ideas of topos and sensus communis at the foundation of rhetoric contain a particular theory of location. Topoi are the topics, mental locations, or commonplaces, organized by the speaker in the act of rhetoric. Meticulously outlined in Aristotle?s Rhetoric, they serve as the core forms or ?containers? of rhetoric, memorized by a speaker and called upon during a speech or argument. Location as a concept in political theory assists not only in understanding the margins and limits of a community, but also in critically assessing how communities come together. In the philosophical thinking of Aristotle and Vico rhetoric is a form of speech that brings about agreement within a community, even in the face of the contestation of argument. My analysis of topos demonstrates the function of rhetoric in the structuring of community and the quality of political discourse.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 34
Word count: 11019
Text sample:
Uncommon topics: on the topics of location and rhetoric in the practice of political community. An essay for the American Political Science Association Meeting: August 28­September 1 2002 Boston By Carlo Bonura Jr. Department of Political Science University of Washington Seattle USA 1 A recent work of historiography on political theory by John Dunn (The History of Political Theory and other Essays) presents several interesting introductory comments relating the concept of space to the inquiry of politics. In his
Donald Phillip Verene. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Goetsch Jr. James Robert (1995) Vico's Axioms: The Geometry of the Human World. New Haven: Yale University Press. Lechner Joan Marie (1962) Renaissance Concepts of the Commonplaces. New York: Pageant Press. Schaeffer John D. (1990) Sensus Communis: Vico Rhetoric and the Limits of Relativism. Durham: Duke University Press. Struever Nancy S. (1985) ``Rhetoric and Philosophy in Vichian.'' New Vico Studies Vol. 3 131­ 145. Valesio Paolo (1980) Novantiqua: Rhetorics as


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