Rhetorical and historical aspects of attitudes: The case of the british monarchy

Philosophical Psychology 1 (1):83 – 103 (1988)
This paper seeks to develop the rhetorical approach to the study of social psychology, by looking at the rhetorical aspects of British attitudes towards the monarchy. The rhetorical approach stresses that attitudes are stances in public controversy and, as such, must be understood in their wider historical and argumentative context. Changes in this context can lead to changes in attitudinal expression, such as the phenomenon of Taking the Side of the Other, which should be distinguished from the sort of attitudinal changes normally described by social psychological theories of attitudes. One needs to assume that attitudinal stances contain both explicit and implicit aspects, and also that these may be contrary to each other. The change in James Gillray's cartoons from anti-monarchical themes in 1792 to pro-monarchical themes in 1793 is discussed as an example of Taking the Side of the Other in response to changing historical contexts. Contemporary monarchical attitudes are also examined to show the rhetorical nature of implicit criticisms and justifications, as well as the rhetorical complexity of these attitudes. General implications for the rhetorical study of implicit and explicit aspects of attitudes are discussed.
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DOI 10.1080/09515088808572927
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