AdvisorMcAllister, Kenneth S.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation project draws from major and minor conversations in rhetorical theory to investigate how the subject of whistleblowing offers rhetorical studies the means to advance the field in ways that are timely and necessary. The singular condition of US military and intelligence whistleblowers as a specially marginalized group, yet one with considerable skills and resources, potentially reorganizes how rhetoricians traditionally regard marginalized groups. In addition, the sophistication, inventiveness, and technical skill of individuals who are in incredibly disadvantageous positions forces us to revise our relationship with significant ongoing conversations in the field, from the way that rhetoric determines what is true or probable to the role of rhetoric in liberal democracies. As my project argues, whistleblowers also give us substantial reasons to revisit the major and minor terms in the discipline, such as ethos, parrhēsia, epideictic, and kairos, among others. Yet, for a subject with such inherent dialectical wealth, there is an absence of any sustained examination in the field of rhetoric, which is puzzling given the historical and concurrent rhetorical study regarding civic discourse in democratic assemblies as well as the ongoing focus on the domains of agency, authority, and positionality. This project concludes by explicating how whistleblowing in US military and intelligence contexts is not simply a check on unconstitutional acts or a correction of waste, fraud, and abuse but rather a process that preserves the very same principles that enable rhetoric to flourish.
Degree ProgramGraduate College