Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dramatism Blog, take one

After reading chapter one of Elements of Dramatism, I was a little worried. The material is dense and the concepts new to me. But chapter two allowed me to place myself in the picture and see how form directly affects my life. Form is something an author can use to appeal to their audience. Does that mean form can be applied to the way people interact with each other outside of printed works or film? If I’m having a conversation with someone, might they already have an expectation of the way the interaction will unfold (Conventional Form)?

The idea that there is danger in certain forms is so true. We can be easily carried away with a particular song or film because it appeals to our sense of form, yet the underlying message is contradictory to our beliefs. We have to be aware of the motives of those behind the scenes.

I feel like I’ve taken away a new appreciation for looking at motivation, identification, division, and consubstantiality (an unconscious desire to identify with others). Burke wants us to look at situations and recognize the reasons behind our unity and division. Dramatism allows us to create new identifications through studying the way we use words as a tool to achieve our goal. He therefore aligns dramatisim with rhetoric. “Dramatism and rhetoric are both conceptual frameworks for understanding ways that human relations are formed through language” (15). What I found interesting is that Burke doesn’t believe rhetoric is just about persuasion but that it’s about identification. Therefore there is some sense of a desire to identify with one another but a lot of that desire may be unconscious. It reminds me of the presidential election. If we identify with one of the candidates more than another, we may, without knowing, begin to align ourselves with their platform without really understanding it. There is, as Burke mentions, a dialectical struggle between identification and division. We want to identify, but we cannot be entirely someone else. Therefore, there will also be division.

So much of what Burke says (through the much easier to understand prose of Blakesley) rings true in my mind. I am just waiting for the day when I can see the whole picture, when all the rhetoric stuff we’re learning in all of our classes comes together is an organized fashion.

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