Monday, February 27, 2006

Rhetorical Analysis Guidelines

Please let me know what legal artifacts (communication events, speech acts, texts) you will be using for your analyses.

Your five-minute speeches should briefly explain both the significance of your artifact and the model or theory you will be using. Then, simply explain the conclusions you've reached about that artifact using the theory or model. This is more a briefing than a detailed lecture; you have a limited amount of time, so you will have to do a lot of summarizing. But your ability to synthesize the ideas and demonstrate an understanding of how communication theories explain rhetorical events will be the main criteria for your grade.

Some basic quiestions you may want to ask can be found here. Your particular model or theory will help explain those questions.

Here are several good examp,es of rhetorical analysis--although yours, obviously has to be based on a legal artifact:

Sample outline:

Thesis: Johnnie Cochrane's defense summation in the O.J. Simpson trial, when analyzed through a model of anti-institutional "critical legal studies" discourse, played upon jurors' distrust of the system to encourage them to find reasonable doubt.

I. Background of the O.J. trial.
(give a very brief historical summary)
Main message: The rhetorical significance of the O.J. trial was that so many people thought it was an open and shut case. Presumably, it would take a solid persuasive event on behalf of the defense to score an aquittal.

II. Anti-institutional and critical legal discourse.
(explain critical legal theory and anti-institutional discourse)
Main message: Critical legal discourse places questions in the minds of its audience as to the fairness of the law as an institution. However, in order for this to work in the courtroom, advocates need to utilize concrete examples of the system's failure in a particular trial.

III. Cochrane's summation.
(detail ways in which Cochrane's summation reflects the various points of critical legal theory)
Main message: By emphasizing prosecutorial mishaps and the dishonesty of authority figures like cops, prosecutors, and lab analysts, Cochrane took advantage of the public's lack of confidence in these authorities.

IV. Conclusion: What else should we analyze about the O.J. trial? (give some suggestions)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing mt rhetorical analysis on the "Scopes Monkey Trial," namely Tennessee v. Scopes. It will be interesting to analze the case through a communications lens.
-Tony C. Yang

10:45 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I need help figuring out a topic for my speech, a case, a decision, i don't know, so if anyone has any ideas please let me know...asap! email me or post it here.

thanks for your help!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

thanks, but i found one, so just disregard the first blog...

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing my rhetorical analysis on Edward R. Murrows contribution to the fall of McCarthyism but I am having a bit of trouble finding a model for the artifact. Anyone have any suggestions? My email is
-Darcee Snider

5:02 PM  

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