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A Drama in Two Acts, or the Acts in Two Dramas: The Rhetoric of the War on Terrorism

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Abstract:

September 11, 2001 was significant in world history, as it was not only a disaster of epic proportions, but also witnessed the development of the War on Terror, and its accompanying rhetoric This analysis examines the rhetoric of the War on Terror from Kenneth Burke’s dramatistic perspective. The primary focus of this analysis is the September 20, 2001 address to the U.S. and the world, the 2002 State of the Union Address, and the memorial speech on September 11, 2002. The author argues that these speeches form the foundation of a rhetoric surrounding the War on Terror. This paper will engage the rhetoric of the War on Terror by describing the tragic frame, and the ways in which the rhetoric is deployed through that frame. This will lead to an examination of how framing the situation tragically leads to an act-agent emphasis in its description of the situation. Through this rhetoric, George W. Bush communicates the situation through a tragic frame to make sense of U.S. military response, one that is not limited to one particular action, but instead can be extended to other theatres as a result of the original threat. This framing serves to construct the U.S. response as inevitable, natural, and beyond question. Future implications of this rhetoric are examined in terms of how this rhetoric will dictate future action. The paper concludes with a discussion of how a comic evaluation of the War on Terrorism may be more appropriate, and better allow personal and social growth.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

war (51), terror (49), agent (44), frame (42), terrorist (42), state (40), enemi (37), act (36), p (36), attack (36), rhetor (33), term (32), bush (31), address (30), evil (28), freedom (27), tragic (26), american (25), burk (24), action (23), septemb (21),

Author's Keywords:

Kenneth Burke, Dramatism, War on Terrorism, Tragic Frame, Pentad
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
URL:
http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112949_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Kephart III, John. "A Drama in Two Acts, or the Acts in Two Dramas: The Rhetoric of the War on Terrorism" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, New Orleans Sheraton, New Orleans, LA, May 27, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112949_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kephart III, J. M. , 2004-05-27 "A Drama in Two Acts, or the Acts in Two Dramas: The Rhetoric of the War on Terrorism" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, New Orleans Sheraton, New Orleans, LA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112949_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: September 11, 2001 was significant in world history, as it was not only a disaster of epic proportions, but also witnessed the development of the War on Terror, and its accompanying rhetoric This analysis examines the rhetoric of the War on Terror from Kenneth Burke’s dramatistic perspective. The primary focus of this analysis is the September 20, 2001 address to the U.S. and the world, the 2002 State of the Union Address, and the memorial speech on September 11, 2002. The author argues that these speeches form the foundation of a rhetoric surrounding the War on Terror. This paper will engage the rhetoric of the War on Terror by describing the tragic frame, and the ways in which the rhetoric is deployed through that frame. This will lead to an examination of how framing the situation tragically leads to an act-agent emphasis in its description of the situation. Through this rhetoric, George W. Bush communicates the situation through a tragic frame to make sense of U.S. military response, one that is not limited to one particular action, but instead can be extended to other theatres as a result of the original threat. This framing serves to construct the U.S. response as inevitable, natural, and beyond question. Future implications of this rhetoric are examined in terms of how this rhetoric will dictate future action. The paper concludes with a discussion of how a comic evaluation of the War on Terrorism may be more appropriate, and better allow personal and social growth.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 20
Word count: 6170
Text sample:
A Drama in Two Acts or the Acts in Two Dramas The Rhetoric of the War on Terrorism 2 On September 11 2001 terrorists attacked the United States by flying jumbo jet airplanes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City the Pentagon and a fourth crashing in Pennsylvania headed towards an unknown target. This horrendous act of violence and destruction shook Americans to their very foundations as the false security of superpower status
20 33 ibid p. 3 34 ibid p. 3 35 ibid p. 4 36 ibid p. 4 37 ibid pp. 4 6 38 ibid p. 3 39 ibid p. 4 40 Burke Attitudes p. 229 41 Burke Attitudes p. 229-231 42 State of the Union p. 2 43 State of the Union p. 2 44 Michael Duffy “Marching Alone ” September 2 2002 CNN.com. 45 Burke Rhetoric 46 State of the Union p. 6 47 Kenneth Burke Permanence and


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