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US and Russian traditions in rhetoric, education and culture

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Traditional rhetoric attempts to find the available means of persuasion in public assemblies, law courts and ceremonials and is grounded in cultural values and beliefs. Traditional rhetoric supports the development of social communities and posits education as a primary means of maintaining these communities. In contrast, contemporary alternatives to traditional rhetoric recognize multiple cultural values both within and between social communities and seek larger unities that encompass but do not eradicate individual and communal differences. US rhetorician Kenneth Burke seeks syntheses among multiple and potentially competing persuasive acts, promotes educational practices of mutual respect and reciprocal learning and advocates a rhetorical theory and practice with potentially global reach. Russian literary theorist Mikhail M. Bakhtin envisions novelistic practices of polyphony, heteroglossia and carnival as modes of dialogue that embrace individual differences within larger, more complex unities. These complementary rhetorical and dialogical practices support US multiculturalism and Russian transculturalism, respectively, but they also and more significantly promote dialogue across cultural boundaries as the basis of an intercultural rhetoric and an intercultural approach to curricula across a range of disciplines.

Keywords: dialogue; intercultural education; multiculturalism; rhetoric; transculturalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2012.730281

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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