Studying Rhetorical Audiences – a Call for Qualitative Reception Studies in Argumentation and Rhetoric

Informal Logic 36 (2):136-158 (2016)
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Abstract

In rhetoric and argumentation research studies of empirical audiences are rare. Most studies are speaker- or text focussed. However, new media and new forms of communication make it harder to distinguish between speaker and audience. The active involvement of users and audiences is more important than ever before. Therefore, this paper argues that rhetorical research should reconsider the understanding, conceptualization and examination of the rhetorical audience. From mostly understanding audiences as theoretical constructions that are examined textually and speculatively, we should give more attention to empirical explorations of actual audiences and users.

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