Generic Criticism

Topics: Rhetoric, Literary Genre, Genres Pages: 5 (1278 words) Published: April 16, 2013
Generic Criticism
What is Generic Criticism?
* Foss (2009) defines generic criticism as “the assumption that certain types of situations provoke similar needs and expectations” (p. 137). * According to Oliver and Duff (2012), “Genre can be defines as a pattern of communication that conforms to community norms. Genres are not fixed, but are constantly evolving and emerging.” (p. 373) * According to Northrop Frye, genre studies are not just about classification, he believes that "the purpose of criticism by genres is not so much to classify as to clarify. . . traditions and affinities, thereby bringing out a large number of relationships that would not be noticed as long as there were no context established for them." (Measell, 1976, p.1) What elements make up a rhetorical genre?

* The first element is a situational requirement which calls for a specific type of response. * The second element is made up of substantive and stylistic characteristics which make up the content and form of the rhetoric deliver by the rhetor. * The last element is the organizing principle which Foss describes as “the label for the internal dynamic of the constellation that is formed by the sustentative stylistic, and situational features of the genre. (Foss, 2009, p. 137-138) Important Theorists

* Edwin Black
Black proposed the following:
1. “There is a limited is a limited number of situations in which a rhetor can find himself.” 2. “There is a limited number of ways in which a rhetor can and will respond rhetorically to any given situation type.” 3. “The recurrence of a given situational type through history will provide a critic with information on the rhetorical responses available in that situation” (Foss, 2009, p. 138). * Lloyd F. Bitzer The focus of Bitzer’s study was on recurring situations. According to Benoit (2000), he “explicitly rejected other influences on the production of rhetorical discourse” (p.179). His belief was that “From day to day, year to year, comparable situations occur, prompting comparable responses; hence, rhetorical forms are born and a special vocabulary, grammar, and style are established.” (p. 179). Bitzer wrote that ". . . the situation is the source and ground of rhetorical activity--and, I should add, of rhetorical criticism." Measell (1976) explains that this means that the “rhetorical discourse is a response to the elements of exigence, audience, and constraints within a situation that invites rhetorical utterances” (p.1). * Anthony Paré and Graham Smart

Their belief, according to Foss (2009), is that “textual features such as styles and modes or argument, regularities in the composing process such as information gathering and analysis of information; regularities in reading practices such as where, when, and why a document is read; and the social roles performed by writers and readers so that no matter who acts as a social worker, judge, or project manager, the genre is enacted in much the same way” (p. 139). * Mikhail Bakhtin

Chen states that (2003), Bakhtin’s belief is that “genres are not ‘the devices of stringing together’ formalistic features but ways of conceptualizing the world” (p. 3). According to Chen (2003), Bakhtin stated that human consciousness possesses a series of inner genres for seeing and conceptualizing reality” (p. 3).

Select an Artifact
* Generic Description – When doing generic description you need to examine several rhetorical artifacts that may come from different time periods and may be in various forms in order to determine if a genre exists. You need to analyze specific features of the rhetorical artifacts and then generalize them in order to decide if a genre exists. * Generic Participation – When doing generic you need to choose an artifact that seems like it belongs a specific genre and test it against a genre to discover whether it belongs to it. Another possibility is to select an artifact which does...
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