Al Gore Jr. and the rhetoric of self-disclosure Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/dv13zz343

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  • Senator Al Gore Jr. was elected Vice-President of the United States on November 3, 1992. During many of his public speeches, Gore utilized a speaking style that differed radically from the style he used in other political campaigns of his life. This style, which will be called the "rhetoric of self-disclosure," can be characterized as consisting of a particular language style that is associated with the self-help movement that became popular in the United States during the 1980's. This language consists of phrases and terms such as "co-dependency," "dysfunction," "dysfunctional families," "denial," and others. In an attempt to understand the uses and effects of this rhetorical device, the theories of Edwin Black are used as a critical model. A combination of two theories, specifically the theories of secrecy and disclosure and the second persona, produced a unique critical methodology that generated insight into Gore as a speaker, and the applications of this unique rhetorical style. A literature survey provides information not only about Gore's political and personal history, but also about the growth and success of the self-help movement in the United States. Included in this review were a number of public addresses given by Gore in the 1992 campaign, his book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, and discussions of the self-help movement and therapy groups. The critical evaluation of Gore's public address provides a number of conclusions. The rhetoric of self-disclosure is rhetorical strategy that has never been used in American Presidential politics and is a radical departure from other, more accepted forms of presidential rhetoric. Also, the use of this strategy gives insight into the character of Gore as a person, a speaker, and a national political leader.
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