The current reality that we are living in is undergoing major social political and economic changes as social movements play a major part in these changes These Movements carry different forms and contents of messages that transcend the boundaries of time and space Whatever it is local or universal oral or written individual or group however these messages are mediated they carry specific purposes that seek to influence or even guide thoughts and behavior perhaps in terms of what we do not know Recognizing and understanding them requires a method or approach to analyze and interpret the discourse How can these strategies help us to enhance our ability to analyze and critique and how this could be means of understanding ourselves and others Perhaps the answer can be found in Donovan J Ochs and John Waite Bowers s book The Rhetoric of Agitation and Control The book mainly examine the used strategies of Agitation and Control by individuals groups or organizations in their rhetoric messages verbal non verbal mass mediated during social movements from students demonstrations civil rights marches and protests for political or social issues Bowers and Ochs provide many examples of movements that happened in the past as an illustration of the concepts of agitation and social control In the book
Bowers and Ochs 1971 described how Agitation occurs when people outside the normal decision making establishment advocate significant social change and encounter a degree of resistance within the establishment such as to require more than the normal discursive means of persuasion Control refers to the response of the decision making establishment to the agitation p 3 From their definition we can draw that agitations are resistance Movements to advocate for significant changes that could range from social political economic or even environmental issues Agitators mostly are people from outside the establishment they cannot be from inside were they oppose those decision makers in a way that calls attention to their curses or what they advocate for On the other hand control as stated in the definition refers to how the power that the establishment use as a major tool to response to the agitation Bowers and Ochs 1971 believe that successful Agitation requires more than the usual ways of persuasion Therefore they designed a model of strategies of rhetorical Agitation that could be used in opposition to the establishment The first one is Petition it uses common discursive means of persuasion that incorporates choosing an efficient appeal target message etc Next step is Promulgation where its tactics like informational picketing handbills protest meetings help Agitations in earning the public's support and get attention After that comes Solidification it happens within the agitating group to enhance the unity of the group Tactics include songs slogans movement symbols and more Also there is Polarization tactics here pushes the individual to choose one of the sides
In Escalation Confrontation agitators over preparation will drive the establishment to overreact As a result they will look foolish publicly and that will make their supporters doubt them Used tactics are contrast threatened disruptions non verbal offensiveness In Gandhi and Guerrilla strategy agitators use a combination of tactics non violent and violent behavior meant to weaken the establishment also to achieve their goals for the movement The last strategy is Revolution but it is not considered rhetorical Bowers and Ochs 1971 also draw a model of rhetorical strategies for control where the establishment responses back to agitation Avoidance counter persuasion evasion secret rationale denial of means Suppression harassment denial of demands banishment purgation Adjustment changing names sacrificing persons obtaining agitation s means incorporate agitators Capitulation accepting some of the agitation s ideology I think Bowers and Ochs s approach is important where it works as a reliable reference for a future scholar and academic studies Not only that but also to provide readers of regular people with solid and sharp analytical and critical skills to understand messages and their rhetorical strategies whether they were from the establishment side or the agitation side The world has seen a growing interest in modern technology where it was the cause of some important events such as student protests in the UK at the end of 2010 the BlackLivesMatter movements in the US as well as the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East This made it necessary to ask a question of if the capabilities of the Internet and technology will lead to the redefining of the Rhetoric strategies of Agitation and Control within social change To sum up based on past social movements Bowers and Ochs designed the strategies and tactics of the rhetoric of agitation and control that are used by both agitators and the establishment Their method can be used as a guideline recognize the strategies and understand them also to analyze and criticize messages from social movements
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