cmn 656 term project paper 3

CMN 656

TERM PROJECT REPORT #3: THE SYMBOLIC DRAMA OF PUBLIC PROBLEMS

Group Observation 3

The purpose of this observation is to explore participants’ vocabularies of motive and the symbolic dramas that those vocabularies enact about public problems. To accomplish this, you are going to examine communication by two or more people or groups on the issue you are studying. You will consider whether the vocabularies used and the dramas they evoke reflect similar or different understandings of relationships with others in the town or with the town itself.

Your task is to choose communication for analysis that in your judgment exemplifies the sort of communication about the public issue that is typical or otherwise important in your study. You can draw that communication from one or more of several possible sources. If your issue is being discussed at a previous public meeting, a videotaped recording would be an excellent source of communication. An informal discussion by two or more individuals, comments on the Internet, a televised session, or quotation in news reports also will do. Your observations of the communication will provide evidence for analytical claims made in TPR #3. Be prepared to discuss your findings on period 20, 4/6.

Term Project Report #3:

“We act out of motives,” Hauser explains, “More than that, we impute motives to other actors.” Unless we have some way to understand people’s motives, we cannot really understand why they act as they do. Kenneth Burke’s “dramatism” provides a model that we can use to disclose the motives people assign to themselves and to others in environmental communication and rhetoric. Your task is to unlock the motives and attitudes exhibited in discussion or debate about the problem in your case study. Your discussion should briefly identify the group or people observed, where, when, and what they were discussing before you provide a “dramatistic” analysis of the interaction. That analysis should include a discussion of the following:

  • Whether the owners are using the same or different vocabulary of motives (be sure to name the vocabulary or vocabularies)
  • The symbolic dramas those vocabularies evoke using the pentad to map them out
  • The individuals or groups that those dramas make consubstantial through identification and those who are left locked in division
  • The consequences of the vocabularies of motive and symbolic dramas for how people in the town understand the problem and respond to it
  • Materials outlined in Group Observation 3
  • At least three scholarly sources on rhetoric concepts used in this report
  • Due 04/13, period 22
  • Use of scholarly sources

    You can develop the conceptual meanings of technical terms using Hauser’s chapter, “Acting Through Language” and other materials related to the study of dramatism. In addition, find at least three relevant scholarly articles on dramatistic concepts (pentad, identification, and so on) that have not been assigned in this course. Provide formal citations for those articles. This search requires that you get familiar using one of the following databases at the Dimond Library website: Communication and Mass Media Complete and Project Muse. If you have problems using these databases, feel free to contact me about it.

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